Zim corruption watchdog ‘toothless’

Transparency International Zimbabwe has called for the overhaul of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission amid ­concern that it is ineffective at dealing with graft.

Nqobani Tshabangu, a Transparency International official, said the organisation had launched a series of public lectures nationwide on the need for the government to appoint a competent ­anti-corruption body. He described the current commission as a "toothless bulldog".

"We are lobbying for an effective anti-corruption commission in Zimbabwe," said Tshabangu on the sidelines of a Transparency International workshop in Bulawayo.

President Robert Mugabe has been under pressure to arrest and prosecute some of the members of his inner circle, including Cabinet ministers, who have been accused of corrupt deals.

Three executives from Air Zimbabwe were recently arrested and subsequently charged for alleged corruption of more than $60-million, amid revelations that the officials had apparently failed to account for two Airbus engines.

Since 2006, out of 147 corruption cases reviewed by the commission, only four have been completed.

Independence from political interference needed
Tobias Guzura of the Zimbabwe Open University, speaking during the public lecture on the need for an effective anti-graft body, said corruption was endemic in Zimbabwe and that there was a need for collaboration between civil society, the ­government and the private sector.

"Corruption, being a deeply ingrained societal vice, requires the collective effort of both governmental and nonstate actors in fighting it. What is needed in Zimbabwe is an anti-corruption agency which is independent from political interference, with security of tenure. [This is] not what we have now."

Zimbabwe was ranked 163 on a list of 176 countries on Transparency International's 2012 corruption perceptions index. –  CAJ News

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