Over 400 ZACC arrests to date Commissioner Thandiwe Mlobane

Sikhumbuzo Moyo

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THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has arrested over 400 public officials from 2019 to date, a majority of them coming from local authorities, especially urban councils.

The latest are two senior Hwange Local Board officials who were picked up this week.

Confirming the arrest of Hwange Local Board town secretary Mr Ndumiso Mdlalose and the Director of Housing and Community Services Mr Ananias Banda, the anti-graft body spokesperson Commissioner Thandiwe Mlobane said the arrests were over abuse of public office following the allocation of stands.

“We cannot give any more detail on the matter except to confirm that they were indeed arrested by our team,” said Comm Mlobane, speaking during a one-day indaba with urban local authority officials from Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North provinces that was held at a local hotel yesterday.

The indaba is meant to introduce councilors and management to a concept that ZACC has developed to tackle corruption through the introduction of integrity committees which are called anti-corruption units in other countries.

Comm Mlobane said they want to impress on urban local authorities on the importance of having integrity committees as a way of preventing corruption by creating strong institutions that are not prone to corruption, and institutions that have systems, policies and controls so that corruption can be prevented. 

“We have observed that this vice has been affecting public trust, the lives of residents in the cities and towns in that a lot of services that are supposed to be delivered are not being delivered simply because the resources have been squandered or paid to non-performing companies,” she said.

“In some cases, stands are not being sold fairly. For now, we are concerned about things that are happening in local authorities, in particular urban authorities, hence the need for us to engage the legislators and bring upon them the need to follow the legislative framework that we have. To date we have arrested over 400 public officials on a national scale.” 

In her keynote address read on her behalf by Comm Mlobane, ZACC chairperson, Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo said the commission does not take pleasure in arresting public officials, especially council officers as that impacts negatively on service delivery and on the Second Republic’s Vision 2030.

She said it is now time to build strong institutions with rules that can be enforced to hold people to account.

“Effective, accountable and inclusive institutions are the backbone for the achievement of Vision 2030 and the Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs). Weak institutions have weak internal control systems which are, if in existence, not implemented and as a result such institutions are prone to corruption,” said Comm Matanda-Moyo.

Over 72 institutions where compliance checks have been done were found to be exposed or vulnerable to corruption in recruitment, promotion, staff benefits and in the procurement of goods and services, Comm Matanda-Moyo revealed.

“If we do not recruit/promote the right people, we ‘import’ corruption into our institutions. If you have a child who is looking for a job in your council, you must make a declaration at the point of recruitment. With regard to procurement corruption, prices for goods and services are inflated and exorbitant. In councils, land sales fuel corruption,” she said.

She said internal integrity committees ensure that internal control systems that are strong and effective are in place.

 “This is why ZACC is recommending the establishment of integrity committees as an additional line of defence against corruption risks. Integrity committees are made up of a cross-section of professionals within an organisation and hence cannot be easily victimised. Instead of ZACC carrying out compliance checks in your institutions, the integrity committees will now do that, they will now be your own ‘ZACC’ but without the powers of criminal investigation and arrest,” said Comm Matanda-Moyo. — @skhumoyo2000

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