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‘Not easy to fight corruption when it’s rife in the courts’ – ZACC chair

The Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission (ZACC) has claimed that massive corruption in the courts is undermining the fight against graft in Zimbabwe.

Addressing a national anti-corruption strategy steering committee meeting in Harare on Thursday, ZACC chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo said a recent survey established that courts topped the list of institutions orchestrating corruption.

“Let me say that I was very disappointed by the results from a survey which was done by Transparency International of Zimbabwe which showed that our court officials are now very corrupt,” she said.

“I think that was the sector which topped corruption. So if our courts are corrupt, there is no way that we can defeat corruption within the courts structure and yet it is that very structure which must ensure that it rids itself of corruption.

“We want to urge those within our courts structures to desist from corrupt activities, to resist corruption and do not let our country degenerate to a lawless country through receiving bribes and then being blinded mentally. I urge our courts to promote justice. At the end of the day, justice must be done.”

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Last year, of all cases of corruption forwarded to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) by ZACC, only four convictions were made.

Matanda-Moyo further said Zimbabweans had to come together to fight corruption with clean hands.

“When we lift our hands we should all say our hands are clean and as such we can be able to fight corruption. Let me emphasize that we can never be able to eradicate corruption with dirty hands, so I urge each and every one to make sure that your hands are clean, not only that your hands are clean but also that your minds are also free of corrupt thoughts.

“Whatever you allow your minds to think should be free of corruption. We must ourselves be committed to honesty, integrity and accountability. It must start with us.

“In July 2019, a campaign against corruption that ends with you was launched by His Excellency the President, so it is very true that corruption ends with us,” she said.

“ZACC should work with the police, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Auditor-General’s office and the National Prosecuting Authority to arrest and prosecute corrupt people.”

The ZACC chairperson told the workshop that they needed to celebrate their successes and to reflect on their failures and challenges with a view to surmount the challenges.

“The work against corruption is not insurmountable. Corruption can be defeated if we all agree that we want to defeat corruption, if we have the national will. As we gather here we represent that national will to fight corruption.

“I want us to focus on the end goal. Focus on defeating corruption. We can only defeat corruption if we allow ourselves to work together. Fighting corruption is like a relay. We all have different functions within that role,” she said.

She added: “If the investigators do not produce quality documents, there is no way that you can guarantee convictions. On the other hand, superb dockets can be prepared but if the prosecutors are not up to the game, then no convictions can also be achieved.”