Heads to roll in Government…as ZACC swoops on rogues

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THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has intensified its fight against corruption in Government’s Civil Registry Department, Central Vehicle Registry and Vehicle Inspection Department.

Government departments have been accused of being havens of corrupt activities for statutory documents, such as birth certificates, national identification cards, passports, vehicle number plates and drivers’ licences.

Officials at passport offices at Makombe Building have been fingered as the worst, with Honourable Ministers also falling victim. 

Two months ago, Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe reportedly became a victim of corruption at the Passport Office in Harare.

Minister Kazembe visited the passport offices in disguise.

It is said that a man approached him asking for a US$30 fee for him to avoid the long and frustrating queue.

The suspect was handed US$50 which he took and started to negotiate with the Minister on passport acquisition. 

He was subsequently arrested.

On May 14, three VID examiners based at Karoi Depot were arrested for issuing a total of 26 provisional certificates to candidates who had failed the examination tests.

In Shurugwi, a human resources officer at Zviumwe Clinic was arrested for nepotism.

In an interview with The Patriot, ZACC Commissioner John Makamure said the Commission is rolling out educational awareness exercises targeting Government departments.

“The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has received a number of complaints regarding tested and untested claims of corruption at some Government departments,” said Commissioner Makamure.

“In line with our mandate, we do not treat any reports of corruption lightly and we have investigated some of the cases. In some instances, we have carried out compliance checks and awareness training at other Government departments.

“This week, we are rolling out an awareness programme for the Central Registry Department with a target 500 staff members in Harare alone before we cascade to provinces and districts.”  

Commissioner Makamure said the Commission recently trained the Departments of Deeds, Companies and Intellectual Property.

“We are guided by the mantra of no fear, favour or prejudice in our work. So we have not spared Government departments or officials from these investigations,” he said.

“We have also carried out compliance checks at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and made recommendations for areas that need to be improved to plug corruption. 

“Beyond this, we have carried out several compliance checks in local authorities, including Mutoko RDC, Umzingwane RDC and Norton Town Council, among others.”

Last month, ZACC nabbed four former Ministry of Local Government bosses for illegally parcelling out land to non-deserving beneficiaries, prejudicing Government of over US$200 000.

The accused are former Director Urban Planning and a member of the State Land Allocation Committee Priscillah Nyarai, Secretary to the State Land Committee in the Ministry of Local Government Andrew Shawatu, Chimoga Lean who was the Acting Director Legal Department and Daisy Mtyambizi, Deputy Director Spatial Planning in the Department of Urban Council and member of the State Land Allocations Committee.

The Uchena Land Commission Report of 2019 revealed that Government has been prejudiced of over US$3 billion as Councils workers and land barons connived to sell urban State land since 2005 and pocketing most of the cash.

The report stated that at least 431 cases of suspected corruption needed further investigation.

The Land Commission also wanted all past and present Government officers linked with managing State land investigated, including lifestyle audits for possible charges of office abuse, bribery and general corrupt practices.

However, little has happened nearly two years down the line.

Commissioner Makamure, however, said as part of the efforts to eradicate corruption in Government, key Government Ministries and departments have been included in the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

“In our national taskforce set up under the auspices of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS), we have also included key Government Ministries and departments to be part of the steering committee to ensure that we have an inclusive approach to combating corruption,” he said.

A National Anti-Corruption Strategy, adopted in July last year, is a Government initiative that seeks to address inter-alia, the co-ordination of anti-corruption efforts by different stakeholders. 

It is currently the main framework for co-ordinating anti-corruption efforts in Zimbabwe. 

In this fight against corruption, ZACC has forged alliances with various local and international organisations.

“Last year, we signed 11 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with various local and international organisations passionate about the fight against corruption,” said Commissioner Makamure. 

“This year, we are targeting 10 more.”

It is our understanding that some of the MoUs were with the Anti-Corruption Commission of Zambia, African Parliamentary Network against Corruption (APNAC) and Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ).

“We are building the capacity to effectively carry out our mandate, and to lessen dependence on Treasury. We have proposed retention of a percentage of assets forfeited so that we fund some of our operations,” said Commissioner Makamure.

“Through Treasury support, we have made tremendous progress in terms of decentralisation and have been given the green light to recruit and decentralise into Masvingo, Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Mashonaland West. 

“Our objective is to have presence in every province and district in the country beyond the current Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru.

“We have also recruited more investigators, including some who will be deployed to provinces to ensure we have active coverage of all corners of Zimbabwe. 

“As part of our intensification in the fight against corruption, we are also actively seeking to recruit 36 n x more investigating officers to be deployed to provinces. 

“The posts have already been advertised in various media. 

“However, there is still the scope and the need to recruit more investigators as the pool we have is not adequate considering the rampant corrupt activities in the country.”

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