Private sector abetting corruption: ZACC

28 Oct, 2022 - 00:10 0 Views
Private sector abetting corruption: ZACC Justice Matanda-Moyo

eBusiness Weekly

Oliver Kazunga
Business Writer

THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has blamed the private sector for being largely guilty of perpetuating corruption in the country taking advantage of low salaries in the public service.

This is contrary to assertions that corruption was largely rife in the public sector.

It is estimated that Zimbabwe loses US$1,8 billion annually predominantly due to corruption, smuggling, tax evasion/avoidance and money laundering practices, among other vices.

In an interview yesterday, ZACC chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo said the private sector is “very guilty” of corruption in Zimbabwe.

“What is apparent is that corruption is not only rife in the public sector, it’s also rife in the private sector because when you look at bribes, the ones who are offering bribes are from the private sector.

“They also bribe the public sector, taking advantage that public service salaries are low. You look for something which is bought in South Africa for R5, that thing is sold here in Zimbabwe for US$100 and you wonder what pricing system is being used,” she said.

“When you look at that person who is selling for US$100, the person has not even declared that product to the customs, the person has not paid duty …and you go to Zimra (Zimbabwe Revenue Authority) again, those companies are not paying taxes. So, the private sector is the one which is very guilty of corruption in this country.”

Last month, it emerged that Parliament had approved a US$1,6 million tender for the supply of 173 laptops from 29 bidders — the lowest priced at US$213 655.

However, the tender was revoked after the Treasury objected to paying the equivalent of US$9 000 for each gadget.

The laptop tender had been awarded to Blinart Investments, a private company believed to be owned by a Harare businesswoman, Elizabeth Muchenje.

Matanda-Moyo said there were some gaps within the country’s legal framework, as such ZACC was now in discussions with Government departments and parastatals to tighten procurement systems through policy initiatives to have the loopholes closed.

“These policies must then address those gaps in the legislation. These policies are coming from various institutions . . . so, we are assisting them to come up with those policies.

“But I also want us to understand that the authorities are looking at the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act to tighten that piece of legislation,” she said.

Of late, a number of influential people including former Government Ministers Prisca Mupfumira and Samuel Undenge as well as Intratrek director Wicknell Chivayo were arrested over corruption but have not been prosecuted.

Asked about her views on the “catch and release” stance Justice Matanda-Moyo said: “ZACC is mandated to investigate and arrest. We prepare dockets and handover these to the National Prosecuting Authority. ZACC cannot even follow the courts, whatever happens there we have no obligation to consult and it is the prerogative of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prosecute.”

“And we need to be acting in unison to successfully fight corruption,” she said. No comment could be obtained from NPA, which had promised a response to questions, by the time of going to print yesterday.

On Monday this week, speaking on one of Star FM’s current affairs programmes, economist Professor Gift Mugano, said policymakers must take corruption as seriously the way they are taking the anti-sanctions drive.

“We don’t want to package corruption as if it is an excuse because we have sanctions, that will be wrong; that will be tragic and that is my point of departure that when we have agreed that sanctions are a real issue, but I am very concerned as an academic that Government has not taken serious steps to deal with corruption.

“Do you think even if sanctions are removed today, we can be given US$3,3 billion by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank, no.

“But we could have used the resources to burst sanctions if we were very careful and very proactive in terms of corruption,” he said.

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