By Takunda Maodza
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has established a Special Anti-Corruption Unit housed in the Office of the President and Cabinet to improve efficiency in the fight against all forms of graft and to strengthen the effectiveness of national mechanisms for the prevention of corruption.
This was announced by Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda in a statement to The Herald last night.
“His Excellency the President has established a Special Anti-Corruption Unit which shall be housed in the Office of the President and Cabinet.
“The overall objectives of the unit shall be — to improve efficiency in the fight against all forms of corruption and to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of the national mechanisms for the prevention and fight against corruption in accordance with the anti-corruption strategy. The members of the unit will be announced in due course,” said Dr Sibanda.
The unit’s terms of reference include collaborating with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and other such institutions in the fight against corruption, assist ZACC and other investigative agencies of the State in the perusal and consideration of corruption dockets, subject to the issuance of Authority to Prosecute by the Prosecutor General, to prosecute corruption cases referred to the National Prosecuting Authority by investigative agencies.
Members of the unit are bound by the Official Secrets Act (Chapter 11:10).
The allowances and conditions of service of members of the unit would be decided by the Office of the President and Cabinet.
Dr Sibanda said in his inauguration speech, President Mnangagwa identified corruption as one of the main impediments to the country’s economic growth and took measures to fight it.
These include the establishment of the Special Anti-Corruption Courts.
The ZRP also established an anti-corruption unit dedicated to investigating corruption complaints.
Government through Cabinet articulated a number of key objective targets that it intended to achieve within a specific timeframe.
“One of the key and critical objectives was the prosecution of a number of high profile corruption cases. This goal is critical in view of the fact that the President has articulated zero tolerance to all forms of corruption and the need to expeditiously prosecute all such cases,” said Dr Sibanda.
He added: “Corruption has been identified as the foremost threat to the rule of law, public order and socio-economic wellbeing of the country. Furthermore, Parliament and judiciary have reiterated the same policy pronouncement. In compliance with the said policy pronouncement, the Zimbabwe Republic Police has conducted investigations in respect of several high profile cases and the relevant dockets are complete and ready for prosecution.”
Dr Sibanda said ZACC had also handed complete dockets to the NPA for prosecution.
“The Judicial Service Commission, in support of Government policy on the fight against corruption, has also established specialised anti-corruption courts which have not been fully utilised. Inspite of all these efforts the National Prosecution Authority made meaningful progress in the prosecution of these cases before the courts. The President further notes that the concern by the Prosecutor General that the National Prosecuting Authority lacks the human capacity to effectively prosecute these matters. The Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has therefore recommended that a Special Unit be constituted to give effect to the policy pronouncement by the President to fight against corruption,” he said.