ZACC to Decentralize Operations
MUTARE- Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) says it will decentralize its services to six provinces by 2021 under a multi-pronged approach to improve its efficiency.
ZACC spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure said the anti-graft body will also seek to recruit competent personnel to man the provincial offices as well as set up anti-corruption courts at Magistrate level.
Makamure said ZACC is seeking champions of anti-corruption and will leave no one behind in the fight through establishing strategic partnership with civic society organizations.
“The setting up of anti-corruption courts was as good development but I feel that we still need to have more set up at High Court level, so that high courts in all provinces should have these specialised courts.
“However, it’s not just setting up regional provinces but it is also making sure that we recruit competent personnel for these offices but we are confident that resources permitting will set up six provincial offices including one in Mutare.
“As you know the anti-corruption courts have been established more at magistrate level so we are pushing and discussing with our partners the Judicial Service Commission so that we speed the processing of corruption courts.
“We are consistent in what we have been calling for that as ZACC we need to be given some prosecutor powers and we can prosecute them in these anti-corruption courts because the NPA is mandated to delegate prosecution powers to prosecute,” said Makamure.
He added, “If we have prosecution power then we are able to implement prosecutor led investigations, so our prosecutors will be involved from the beginning of the investigations so that the docket prepared is water tight.”
Makamure said ZACC will establish strategic partnership with civic organizations, having recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Transparency International Zimbabwe, for an independent monitoring mechanism.
He said the fight against corruption needed all hands-on deck, with mechanism to ensure meaningful participation of civic actors who have been previously marginalized.
“We are looking for key partners in the fight against corruption, we want to bring especially civil society on board, business as represented by business membership organizations, labour as represented by ZCTU and others.
“We want to bring them meaningfully on board because we feel that in the past they have been marginalized and have not been actively involved in the anti-corruption fight and their important stakeholders.
“We are looking for such partnerships to ensure that these organizations independently monitor implementation of the anti-corruption fight, provide an independent mechanism, that’s why we signed an MOU with Transparency International Zimbabwe.
“Going forward we are going to enter into MOUs with other relevant civic actors because we need champions of anti-corruption and they must come from different sectors without marginalization,” said Makamure.
TIZ official said Tracy Mutowekuziva said the signing of the MOU was a significant statement of intent from the anti-corruption watchdog that it is serious about fighting graft.
Mutowekuziva said corruption is thriving because of a weak legal framework as she warned against amending constitutional provisions that guarantee independence of the judiciary.
“We are glad to be part of this coalition working with ZACC to complement them on the NACS strategy because at the end of the day we are trying to curb corruption. If we work together it means we will not duplicate roles, and this will strengthen the fight against corruption.
“We need to look closely at our legislative framework because it provides numerous loopholes for people to engage in corruption cases, issues of beneficial ownership have been highlighted and they provide an opportunity for collusion.
“If we accede to these amendments of the constitution it will take away progressive provisions in terms of oversight role of parliament over the president, Judges should not be appointed in a manner that compromises them.
“We cannot weaken the courts because we are saying these courts should be dealing with corruption and if we are to temper with the courts it precipitates disaster in the fight against corruption,” said Mutowekuziva.