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Measures in place to stop graft: PG

Zimbabwe has shown its commitment to fight corruption by putting in place a cocktail of measures that eradicate the scourge threatening to wreck the fabric of a functioning economy, Prosecutor-General Justice Loyce Matanda-Moyo told a major UN conference on corruption this week.

The Government embarked on reform initiatives aimed at fighting corruption and recovery of stolen assets by enacting several laws and amending various pieces of legislation. 

The Money Laundering Act of 2019 criminalises money laundering, empowers the law enforcement agencies to seize unexplained wealth, allows for civil recovery of proceeds of crime, established a Financial Intelligence Unit, a recovered asset fund and an asset management Unit. 

Justice Matanda-Moyo said Zimbabwe affirmed that corruption was a problem which required serious commitment to eradicate the scourge.

She made the remarks this week while addressing the 10th Session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), in Atlanta, Georgia, United States which ends today. 

“To date the country has made US$26 million in forfeitures to victims, US$11,6 million to the State and preservation orders worth US$100 million in way of freezing seizures, interdicts, and unexplained wealth orders,” she said. Justice Matanda-Moyo hailed UNCAC conference which coincided with commemorations of the instrument’s 20 years of existence, saying this offered the participants a platform to reflect on the efforts made to tackle corruption globally and the extent of implementation by Member States of this very important tool. 

Zimbabwe signed the UNCAC treaty in 2004 and ratified it in 2007 and has so far participated in both the review mechanisms provided by the Convention which have been completed. 

In addition, Zimbabwe has reviewed four countries: Zambia, Benin, Central African Republic, and the Russian Federation. 

Justice Matanda-Moyo said Zimbabwe has domesticated the convention through several legal frameworks which include the new Constitution of Zimbabwe in 2013, which created the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Prosecuting Authority. 

In her address, Justice Matanda-Moyo also touched on several other pieces of legislation that criminalised abuse of functions in public entities and the procurement sector and those that enhances transparency and accountability in the public sector and which provides for the declaration of assets for all board members of public entities and heads of all public entities.

And among others, the laws criminalised the fraudulent, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct of business, falsification of records and obligates companies to maintain and file beneficial ownership information. 

“Zimbabwe launched the national anti-corruption strategy for 2020-2024 which encompasses a multi-stakeholder approach in the fight against corruption,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo.

“The NACS has provided an inclusive and participatory mechanism for Government, civil society organisation’s, non-governmental organisations, law enforcement agencies, and the private sector in anti-corruption issues.” 

In addition, she said Zimbabwe introduced the national development strategy which promoted production and productivity through implementation of policies for ease of doing business, strengthening of property rights, and combating corruption among other issues. 

The conference also heard that Zimbabwe support for anti-corruption efforts had significantly increased by 300 percent and the establishment of specialised courts at the magistrates and high courts of Zimbabwe saw the conviction rate of corruption cases increasing 72 percent. 

“As a corruption prevention measure, the ZACC facilitated the establishment of integrity committees within various public sector institutions,” she said.

“This model revolves around building strong institutions that can detect and put measures to fight corruption within their spheres of control.

“To date over 100 institutions including local authorities, independent commissions, State enterprises, and universities, have established integrity committees and in 2024 this concept will be cascading to all the Ministries.” 

Justice Matanda-Moyo said the concept of integrity pledges that has also been introduced is a voluntary pledge signed by an individual as a commitment to fight corruption.

“Zimbabwe has established an internally driven corruption perception index survey which is part of the corruption measurement,” she said.

“In a bid to ensure coordinated and amplified efforts at local level from all stakeholders, ZACC has signed thirty MOUs with key stakeholders in law enforcement, CSOs and the private sector and these include the Auditor General and the National Prosecuting Authority.”

Justice Matanda-Moyo said Zimbabwe as a member of the SADC Anti-Corruption Committee (SACC), Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) and Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Southern Africa (ARINSA) was making great strides to ensure measures that guarantee maximum cooperation is given to State parties during requests for extradition processes and the return of stolen assets.

To further enhance regional cooperation, ZACC has signed four memorandums of understanding on Cooperation in Combating Corruption and Economic Crime with the Anti-Corruption Commission of Zambia, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime and the Economy of Botswana, Special Investigations Unit of South Africa, and Anti-Corruption Bureau of Malawi. These MOUs will include cooperation on joint investigations, asset recovery, skills enhancement, and extradition among others. 

On the internal front, Justice Matanda-Moyo said, ZACC and NPA signed a consultancy agreement with the Basel Institute on Governance International Centre where it is working closely with the organisation in the process of identification and recovery of stolen assets and capacity building in financial investigations. 

Currently, Zimbabwe in the process of coming up with whistle blower and witness protection legislation and an amendment to the Anti-Corruption Commission Act to include sector specific offences of corruption.

Herald

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