By Sukai Tongogara ZACC Executive Sec
ZIMBABWE ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION’S KEY MILESTONES AND CHALLENGES FOR THE YEAR ENDING 31 DECEMBER 2021
KEY MILESTONES FOR ZACC
The Commission approved and adopted its Strategic Plan (2021-2023) which is aligned to the National Development Strategy (NDS1). This Strategic Plan was launched on the 11th of July 2021 by His Excellency the president of Zimbabwe. Its strategic focus and major outputs and outcomes being investigation of corruption cases and increased prosecution of corruption cases (180 dockets), increased asset recovery (ZWL600 million), increased access to ZACC services through digitalization of ZACC platforms; improved service delivery; enhanced awareness by citizens and institutions; improved operational systems in public & private institutions and increased anti-corruption compliant institutions.
Budget allocation 2019-2021
Since the appointment of the Commission in 2019 ZACC saw a significant increase in the budget allocation. In 2020, a budget of ZWL 1, 5 million was allocated to ZACC. In 2021 Treasury increased the budget allocation by 30% and allocated ZWL317 000, 00 to support ZACC operations.
Approved ZACC Establishment
The ZACC authorized establishment has been reviewed from one hundred and ninety-two (192) posts and to three hundred and ninety-five (395) in 2021. Currently the total establishment is at one hundred and nineteen. This represents a 61 increase in staffing levels for the period under review.
The revised organizational structure is aligned to the new strategic focus under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1). It includes the Asset Forfeiture and Recovery Unit and decentralization to provinces to increase access to ZACC services.
ZACC embarked on a massive recruitment drive in 2020. To date ZACC has managed to fill critical senior management posts which were vacant since 2016. To support the decentralization of ZACC operation provincial investigating officers have been recruited for the six provinces. ZACC has recruited investigating officers for six provinces.
Performance Management System
The Commission has put in place a well-managed performance management system. Management has completed the mid-year performance review to ensure that all ZACC operations are on course in attaining their set targets and address the challenges in performance.
Decentralization of ZACC operations
Decentralization of ZACC operations is one of the key strategies aligned to the devolution agenda under the NDS 1. ZACC has four reporting offices two in Harare and two others in Bulawayo and Gweru. The Commission will be opening a reporting office at Hebert Chitepo and will be decentralizing to Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Mutare and Bindura to increase access to ZACC services.
Investigations for prosecution of corruption cases
For the reporting period, ZACC received a total of one thousand one hundred and thirty three (1133), Harare, one thousand and fifty seven (1057) , Bulawayo Province received fifty[nine (59) whilst Gweru received seventeen cases. Six Hundred and seventy eight (678) cases received were of abuse of office.
ZACC surpassed its target to complete and refer to the NPA eighty (80) cases in 2020. A total of ninety (90) completed corruption cases were referred to National Prosecuting Authority. The Commissioner recorded seven (7) criminal convictions in the year 2020 including criminal forfeiture of eight vehicles.
In 2021 the target is to complete and refer 180 corruption dockets to the NPA. The resources availed to ZACC enabled country-wide investigations including Victoria Falls, Beitbridge, Chipinge and Chiredzi among other provinces. Currently, there are twenty-six (26) were undergoing trial, nineteen (19) cases were allocated trial dates and forty five (45) were in set down. Cumulative cases with NPA are one thirty one (131).
The recently established ZACC Asset Forfeiture and Recovery Unit has seized a total of eight (8) immovable properties valued at ZWL $165 640 000.00 (USD $2,070,500.00) and total of twenty-four (24) motor vehicles valued at ZWL $121,500,000.00 (USD $1,500,000.00). To date eight (8) case files have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority for asset confiscation and unexplained wealth applications which are pending in the High Court. One (1) civil confiscation order has been granted by the High Court for civil forfeiture of immovable property valued at ZWL 8,100,000.00 (USD$ 100,000.00).
Prevention of corruption
ZACC embarked on a massive virtual public education campaign on the digital and non-digital platforms. The awareness campaigns spanned across radio and television programmes, social media platforms and a few physical interactions in compliance due to the Covid 19 restrictions.
ZACC conducted several researches motivated by the trends were corruption was most prevalent namely the Health Sector Study, Public Finance Management, Public Procurement, Mining Sector study, Fuel sector study, Roller Meal Maize Subsidy Programme. The findings of the researches have been summarized and disseminated to stakeholders and to the Office of the President and Cabinet.
ZACC has had many stakeholder collaborations with local regional and international stakeholders. For the year under review ZACC entered into seven (7) Memoranda of Understanding with various national stakeholders.
ZACC also signed two (2) Memoranda of Understanding with international agencies to accelerate its asset recovery regime.
ZACC is committed to complying with statutory obligations which include submission of the 2020 Financial Statements to Office of the Auditor General and the 2020 Annual Report which was submitted the Office of the President and Cabinet.
ZACC continues to bemoan the delays in the prosecution of corruption cases. In view of this ZACC has requested for the review of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act [Chapter 9:22]. The highlights of the proposals in the proposed lay bill are the inclusion of comprehensive corruption offences, prosecuting powers and whistleblower and witness protection provisions to strengthen the legislation.
In line with e-governance ZACC has established digital media platforms to increase its visibility and access to ZACC services namely an official ZACC website, Facebook page, Twitter handle (50 000), whatsapp platform (70) and anonymous whistleblower application (80).
An Electronic Case Management System is currently being developed with the assistance of development partners. Treasury has committed to funding the operationalization of the ECSM.
National Anti-Corruption Strategy
The National Anti-Corruption Strategy was launched by H.E The President on 11 July 2020. ZACC has spearheaded the implementation of the NACS which has a Steering Committee comprising 33 stakeholders drawn from Ministries, Government departments, Parliament, civic society, private sector. The Steering Committee in its roadmap established six sub-committees to expedite the implementation of the NACS.
Lack of harmonized anti-corruption legislation which includes whistleblower and witness protection provisions.
Victimisation of witnesses
Delays in prosecution of corruption cases and filling of unexplained wealth applications at the High Court. Result in witness fatigue/refusal of remand of corruption cases.
Dissipation of seized assets
Delay in tabling of ZACC Annual Reports before Parliament
Absence of attractive conditions of service for ZACC officers