Own Correspondent|The Zimbabwean government has come out boasting that only 2 600 cases of corruption involving Government employees and former employees have been recorded in the past 10 years in a country where corruption especially in the public sector has collapsed the country.
Latest corruption statistics indicate that Zimbabwe ranks joint 154th out of 176 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, ranking it alongside Turkmenistan. On a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean), the Corruption Perceptions Index marked Zimbabwe 2.2 making amongst the most corrupt countries in the world.
According to the government report, Criminal abuse of office and bribery make up the majority of the 2600 cases.
The findings of a survey commissioned by Transparency International Zimbabwe found that Zimbabwean citizens regarded the public sector as the most corrupt sector in the country.
In this survey respondents favoured the police as being most corrupt followed by political parties, parliament/legislature, public officials/civil servants and the judiciary. A Transparency International director at one time announced that Zimbabwe loses US$5 million to corruption every day.
With 2600 people arrested over ten years, it means that only 260 people are arrested in a year declaring a less than one person arrest in a day.
The statistics were presented to the National Assembly last week by Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi. “The police received a total of 2 644 corruption cases involving Government employees and former employees in the last 10 years,” he said.
“The accused were convicted in 589 of the cases, signifying 22 percent of the total figure. Cases of criminal abuse of office dominated the list, signifying 62 percent of the total.”
Of the cases reported to the police, 1 644 involved criminal abuse of office as a public officer with 301 people accused of the crimes being convicted, 923 cases of bribery were reported resulting in 271 convictions, 56 cases involved corruptly concealing a transaction from a principal saw 10 convictions, while 21 cases involving corruptly concealing a personal interest in a transaction had seven convictions.
Minister Ziyambi also told Parliament that fighting corruption remained a priority of President Mnangagwa’s administration in the Second Republic.
“Fighting corruption is one of the key pillars of the Second Republic and President Mnangagwa has stated that his administration’s goal is to build a new Zimbabwe based on transparency, accountability and hard work,” he said.
“Therefore, Government has already taken the initiative and established institutions to deal with corruption. This has seen the establishment of the Special Anti-Corruption Courts. In addition, the Zimbabwe Republic Police has since formed the Police Anti-Corruption Unit under the Criminal Investigations Department to deal with these cases.”
He added that various institutions tasked with fighting the scourge would continue to be capacitated.
“The Government is also capacitating the Zimbabwe Judicial Commission, the National Prosecution Authority, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Anti-Corruption Commission, with the requisite skills to investigate and prosecute crimes related to corruption. Similarly, Government is expediting the establishment of a Commercial Crimes Court to fast-track the prosecution of such offenders,” he said.
In an interview with the ZBC ahead of the Independence Day celebrations President Mnangagwa bemoaned the low conviction rate citing corruption within the justice delivery system itself.
The chairman of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit in the President’s Office (Sacu), Mr Thabani Mpofu, also concurred with the President in an exclusive interview with The Herald recently.
“The President was 100 percent correct in saying that corruption is deep-rooted in all our spheres of activity. It is not just Government, but beyond as well. But coming back to what the President has said, in our experience, we have seen that those that are corrupt are represented in every step of the justice system and that getting matters even to commence as trial is a matter that involves many corruption hurdles. Yes, the President was correct that fighting corruption is not a matter that can be swatted away easily,” Mr Mpofu said.