By A Correspondent- The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), which last year blew over US$33 million to probe graft cases and fund its other operations, has admitted that it only secured four convictions while four other cases were dismissed by the courts of law.
In a statement posted on its website yesterday, the anti-corruption body named the convicts as Taurai Murenga (fraud), Maxwell Mahota (impersonation), Josiah Magume (fraud) and Richard Arnold (contempt of court).
Those acquitted are Vutete Mazorodze Hapanyengwe, Simbarashe Chikore, Remigio Nenzou, Adam Zvandasara and Gilfern Moyo.
Civic society organisations criticised Zacc for targeting “small fish” and failing to secure convictions for the “big fish” accused of bleeding the economy.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson Obert Masaraure told NewsDay that the cases successfully prosecuted by Zacc were of “small fish”, which showed that high-level corruption was yet to be seriously dealt with.
“This level of corruption emanates right within the corridors of Zacc because the moment an organisation built for the sole reason of stamping out corruption ignores high-level corruption and opts to root out small fish, this is a reflection of the corrupt nature of our State institutions,” Masaraure said.
“First of all, corruption is corruption whether low level or high level, but this idea of ignoring the bigger fish is a product of the catch-and-release system and considering the fact that Zacc on its own pronounced that it spent US$32 million in fighting corruption — that is when you see that the numbers do not add up vis-a-vis convictions.
“The nature of the Zimbabwean justice system has been exposed since time immemorial and now with Zacc, it seems it is a case of new wine and old bottles, and this is suffocating the country. The centre is corrupt to root out corruption.
“We have to reconfigure the centre. The ruling elite is running the corruption enterprise,” he said.
But Zacc spokesperson John Makamure rubbished the claims by CSOs that they were not effectively fighting graft.
“Such concerns do not hold water. Of the 180 dockets submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority for prosecution in 2021, 40% are high-profile. Our cases are thoroughly investigated and the dockets are of high quality. Of the Zacc cases that have been finalised in the courts, 70% are convictions and the remaining 30% are acquittals,” Makamure said.-NewsdayZimbabwe