THE government is facing hurdles in its efforts to deal with corruption, despite hoping that the new Money Laundering Act will provide the answers, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told Senators this week.
Ziyambi’s sentiments came following MDC Masvingo Senator Tichinani Mavetera’s question whether the government has achieved anything in its anti-corruption fight.
“Recently, in the press, the prosecutor-general said cartels have captured various institutions in the country, including the Judiciary, the media et cetera.
“I think this issue is a serious one in this country. I would like to hear what the government has so far achieved because I think the fight against corruption started a long time ago during this second republic but we cannot continue like that. I think we owe it to the public to make sure that it is explained and publicly see tangible results of what is happening.”
Ziyambi said they are committed to fight against corruption but they are facing many hurdles.
“Indeed, any nation, when there is corruption, it will retard economic growth and as a government, we are committed to fighting corruption.
“However, fighting corruption means you will be fighting people with needs and when you do so, they use every legal route available to try to escape. So, you would find that it is actually accepted internationally that prosecuting one case of corruption needs a lot of money and you will meet a lot of impediments,” he said.
Ziyambi said what is happening in Zimbabwe’s anti-corruption fight is not peculiar but is common when you are fighting corruption.
“Having realised that, we then decided that taking the criminal route is one of the most difficult ones because the burden of proof is on the State.
“So, we brought to this Parliament an amendment to the Money Laundering Act wherein we then inserted what we call unexplained wealth orders where the prosecutor-general will now be allowed an ex-parte application …
“that will be taken to court to show property that specific individuals would have amassed.
He added that the burden is now shifted to the accused to prove whether she or he is not corrupt.
“So, what we have done is — and I am glad this House passed that legislation — we now have that provision whereby if you amass wealth and we know that the amount of money that you earn does not correspond to what you have, the prosecutor-general can go to court so that an order can be issued to show why that wealth cannot be frozen and you explain the source of your wealth.
“However, failure to explain, then that is forfeited to the State. We believe this is an easier route, it is a civil route, the burden of proof shifts to the other person, and it is not on the State.
“So, we are now using several methods to fight corruption and going forward, you will see a lot of asset forfeitures happening.”