ZACC town house swoop reeks of favouritism – Harare residents

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

RESIDENTS groups have urged the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) not to spare any sacred cows in its bid to account for corrupt officials within the Harare City Council.

The past few weeks have seen Harare mayor Hebert Gomba, a handful councillors and some city officials arrested on alleged corruption.

However, the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) feels any serious attempt to get to the bottom of alleged graft within the country’s largest local authority should spare no-one.

There are strong fears the current swoop on Town House targeted a selected few and spared other top officials linked to serious acts of corruption within council corridors.

CHRA director Lorraine Mupasiri-Sani said the approach to deal with corruption has been selective and needed to be addressed.

“Corruption has been rampant at the city council which shows that as an institution, it has weak accountability systems,” Mupasiri told Thursday.

“Even when if councillors where fired and replaced with commissions, those commissions were very corrupt too.

“Therefore, corporate governance, financial systems and accountability processes need to be strengthened and complied with.”

She added, “There should be compliance to Public Finance Management Act and institute social accountability mechanisms which allow citizens to participate in public expenditure monitoring.”

Speaking on the same subject, Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba said internal investigations that were more fruitful should involve the police and ZACC from the onset.

“Internal investigations are largely corrective and designed to strengthen internal controls, monitoring and evaluation,” Shumba said.

“However, for serious investigations that lead to successful prosecutions, the suspected cases of corruption and criminal abuse of authority, the police and ZACC should be fully involved from the beginning.

“This minimises cases of internal collusion among officials and policy makers to cover up or sacrifice others while exonerating some through manipulation of evidence and documentation.”