Govt tightens screws on anti-graft bodies

Govt tightens screws on anti-graft bodies
Published: 15 December 2017 (352 Views)
ANTI-corruption institutions will now be required to publish reports detailing the number of people arrested in order to combat rising cases of sleaze that have drained the national fiscus.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa made the announcement last week when he presented the 2018 National Budget in Parliament.

Institutions which will be obligated to publish the reports on a quarterly basis include the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

"State institutions charged with tackling corruption will be required to demonstrate a higher degree of transparency in order to monitor the progress each respective institution is registering in combating corruption," Chinamasa said.

He said these institutions would be required to publish statistics on the number of arrests made, number of successful prosecutions or convictions, and the value of money or property recovered as a result of their interventions.

Recently, Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross (MDC-T) told Parliament that Zimbabwe had lost $60 billion since independence through corruption.

A Transparency International report in 2016 said Zimbabwe was losing $1 billion annually through corruption while former President Robert Mugabe last year also disclosed that there was $15 billion missing diamond revenue.

The Finance minister also said government would not hesitate to withdraw retention of funds from some government departments if evidence of abuse was presented.

Some of the government departments that have been given the authority to retain funds include the ZRP, the Registrar-General's Office and, to a little extent, the Immigration Department, among others.

"Treasury authorities have been granted to various agencies of government to retain for their own utilisation, earnings, fees and fines that would ordinarily be surrendered to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Regrettably, this dispensation is increasingly also being abused as agencies depart from their core mandates and focus on revenue raising, also with corrupt practices and extortionist tendencies permeating.

"Treasury will not hesitate to withdraw retention authority where the above practices are reported," Chinamasa said.

Among other measures to combat corruption, Chinamasa said the 2018 Budget would propose dedicated facilities or hotlines to be established for whistle-blowers to report graft, adding their identities would be protected.

- newsday

Tags: Graft, Bodies, Screws,
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