Editorial Comment

More must be done to combat graft

CORRUPTION will continue and will always be the Zimbabwean economy’s number one cancer that will not simply go away. 

Since independence, both the government and private sector have colluded to siphon millions from the public. 

Currently, Zimbabwe is ranked 157 out of 180 on the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for the year 2020, which is not a good rating. 

Estimates suggest that the country is losing close to US$2 billion per year to graft, money which could be used to fund health care, road rehabilitation, and procurement of textbooks for government schools. 

What is disappointing in all this is that there seems to be no will power to arrest and prosecute those implicated in the corruption. 

In today’s publication, we carry a story in which the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chairperson Loyce Matanda-Moyo is complaining at the lack of speed in the local justice system to try graft cases. 

Out of 180 dockets forwarded by Zacc to the National Prosecuting Authority, only four convictions have been secured so far.

This translates into a 2,2 percent conviction rate which is way too low for a country that intends to climb up the ladder on the CPI. 

“In the area of investigations, the commission has surpassed the annual target of 180 dockets submitted to NPA for prosecution. The commission remains concerned with the speed at which the cases are processed through the criminal justice system,” Matanda-Moyo said. 

“We have been engaging the NPA and Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to implement necessary reforms in order to enhance public confidence in the fight against corruption. I am pleased to note that we are finding each other in that regard. 

“The four convictions so far this year arising from our dockets fall far below our expectations given the number of high-profile arrests we made during the year.”

This confession from Matanda-Moyo should send a shockwave in the entire criminal justice system and law enforcement agencies. 

We should be doing more as a country to combat graft and securing only four convictions for the entire 2021 is a huge indictment on the entire nation. 

In the past, Zacc has called for the enactment and enforcement of a whistle-blower legislation to encourage, reward and protect those that come forward to report corruption. 

Without this crucial piece of legislation, Zacc, the police and the NPA will find it hard to deal decisively with sleaze.