Corruption Prevalent In Government Offices - ZACC
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) says criminal abuse of duty and fraud are the most prevalent crimes reported in 2022, with the highest number of complaints made against public officials.
This came out in the ZACC 2022 annual report received by the Parliament of Zimbabwe recently.
According to the report, which was seen by NewsDay, of the 684 reports received by ZACC, 332 (48.50%) were about criminal abuse of duty and 247 (36.10%) fraud.
Theft or theft of property, which amounts to 29, money laundering (21), bribery (11), forgery (nine), extortion (six), tax invasion (six), smuggling (four), and three externalisation cases, are some of the reported cases. Part of the report read:
A crime analysis shows that reports of criminal abuse of duty and fraud remain the most prevalent crimes reported in the year under review.
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These were mostly concentrated in local authorities and rural district councils where the compliance teams had not conducted any reviews.
Further categorising these complaints into sectors, from the 684, 335 were against public officials, representing 68,4% of the total reports received; 175 were against officials or entities in the private sector, representing 25,58% of the total; and 66 were against land barons, representing 9,64% of the total.
Of the 335 complaints received against public officials, 255 were against public officials in various government ministries, and 80 were against public officials in local authorities and parastatals.
The commission handled 16 complaints against elected officials, chiefs, headmen and village heads.
ZACC also revealed that cases involving public officials in government ministries were mostly against those in Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement; Mines and Mining Development; and Local Government and Public Works ministries. ZACC said:
Forty-six of the complaints were against officials from the Lands Ministry, particularly the Lands Department. Most of the allegations against officials from the local authorities relate to the illegal sale of land or residential stands.
These corrupt tendencies were worsened by the emergence of land barons. For the year 2022, apart from arrests, the commission also focused on improving integrity, accountability and transparency in local authorities.
Former ZACC chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo was cited as saying ZACC investigated a total of 157 (62%) and referred 134 (53%) dockets to the National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe (NPAZ) from the 253 cases approved by the selection committee for investigations. She added:
Improved engagement with the NPAZ bore fruit as the year 2022 saw the commission recording a 72% conviction rate of the cases it had referred to the National Prosecuting Authority at the completion of trial.
Criminal abuse of duty involves a public officer, such as a government official or civil servant, intentionally abusing their position or authority for personal gain or to cause harm to others.
It refers to situations when a public officer acts unlawfully, dishonestly, or improperly beyond their duties, and their actions amount to a criminal offence.
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