Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) Deputy Chairperson, Commissioner Phineas Murapa, said about US$1.3 billion is being siphoned out of the country every year and the countries that benefit ironically accuse the Government of corruption.
Murapa said this during the commission’s virtual interface with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on Friday.
He was explaining Zimbabwe’s poor record on international corruption perception indexes, which he said are often led by countries benefitting from proceeds of corruption from Zimbabwe. Said Murapa:
We are not saying there is no corruption, but we are saying if we are going to play the game fairly, those who receive our money, which we understand is upwards of US$1.3 billion every year, they receive that money and they see that as corruption, but when they take it into their coffers, it is not corruption.
So corruption has to be looked at in both ways, for those who are receiving it and those who are sending it.
Speaking during the same interface, ZACC Commissioner Gabriel Chaibva expressed concern over deep-rooted corruption at Harare City Council and other local authorities. He said:
The most challenging issue for these local authorities is that almost everybody has become a criminal.
Those in the environmental management committee commit their crimes there, those in the car parks they make their money there; no one is superintending over the other.
This is one of the biggest challenges that we are now fighting. We now have a cartel involving senior officers, and these senior officers are superintending over their juniors in making sure they get their share of the proceeds of crime.
Another ZACC Commissioner, Sukai Tongogara, said efforts to prosecute perpetrators were being undermined by a lack of legal instruments to protect whistleblowers and witnesses. Said Tongogara:
Abuse of office has the highest number of cases that we are handling.
The witnesses usually are subordinates of those senior officials and to ask them to come and give evidence when we don’t have any legislation protecting them is difficult.
For example, the case of ZINARA (Zimbabwe National Road Administration) took time. After we called witnesses to come to ZACC, they were either transferred or fired through fake disciplinary charges.
[This was possible] because these senior officials we arrested were not suspended from work, and they went back to work after they appeared in court.