THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has opened investigations against judges, magistrates and church leaders over a slew of graft allegations.
Zacc chair Justice Loyce Matanda-Moyo last week said members of the judiciary were under scrutiny but emphasised there was no interference on the independence of the third arm of the State.
She also hinted that there were several church leaders under probe for corruption allegations among whom is a prominent bishop who received a US$100 000 tithe from his church congregant.
“The investigation against members of the Judiciary Services Commission (JSC) is underway but we want to ensure that there will be no outcry of interference on the judiciary,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo.
On the church bishop, Justice Matanda-Moyo said: “The commission is tracing the source of funds which shows that the church member who paid a US$100 000 tithe had made US$1 million.”
Justice Matanda-Moyo was not at liberty to disclose the names of the church leaders under probe saying it could jeopardise investigations.
She said corruption was deep-rooted even in law enforcement agencies such as Zacc, police, and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“Our institutions are not free from corruption; we have arrested some police officers while some members of Zacc have been dismissed on corruption charges,” said the Zacc boss.
The commission, under the Second Republic, has taken the anti-corruption fight to another level, with properties worth US$4,8 million and 501 luxury vehicles seized from corrupt officials.
“The commission has submitted eight applications for unexplained wealth orders with the High Court of Zimbabwe. We have started tracing assets in South Africa, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Mauritius and Kenya.
“This year, the commission has so far submitted 87 dockets for prosecution. We understand that the NPA has been on a recruiting drive and we look forward to corruption cases being given top priority next year.”
To strengthen its investigation team, Zacc has recruited experts who are due to start work on 1 January 2021 to boost the skeletal staff manning the anti-corruption body.
“In its 2021 national budget, the Government has allocated $317 million to Zacc to amplify the fight against corruption. The Government has also committed to funding Zacc’s electronic case management system and purchase an office in all provinces in support of the devolution agenda,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo.
Corruption, according to the United Nations, is hampering sustainable development as the world is losing a jaw-dropping US$3,6 trillion to corruption, of which developing nations lose US$1,26 trillion per year.
The UN estimates that businesses and individuals pay about US$1 trillion annually in bribes to public officials. Zimbabwe loses about US$684 million to illicit financial flows.
Justice Matanda-Moyo said procurement of Covid-19 materials was tainted by murky deals through price gouging for personal protective equipment, ventilators, medication and falsified medicines.
“The pandemic created vast opportunities for corruption to thrive due to the relaxation of safeguards under emergency protocols and weakened oversight mechanisms created as a response to Covid-19,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo.
“The commission conducted compliance checks in the procurement of Covid-19 drugs and equipment. This exercise led to the arrest of senior Government officials from the Ministry of Health and Childcare as well as NatPharm. – Sunday News