Monday, 10 February 2020

HODZI : CARTELS HAVE CAPTURED STATE INSTITUTIONS

THE National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission have said they are taking the corruption fight to cartels that have captured various institutions including the judiciary and media, crippling the economy in the process.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) anti-corruption capacitation workshop in Bulawayo yesterday, NPA and Zacc officials said addressing graft needs urgent attention as it is of concern to most citizens in the country.

Prosecutor-General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi said cartels were responsible for illicit deals that are contributing to the suffering of most citizens.

“The cartels are responsible for most of the high-level incidences of corruption and the nature of the cartels cuts across all the institutions, the media, the legal profession, the judiciary, the NPA itself and all other institutions that are mandated to fight corruption. Members of the public and business people are also involved in those cartels,” said Mr Hodzi.

He said the cartels constitute organised crime and are well co-ordinated to deliberately frustrate efforts to unearth them and once discovered, they use their sophistication to frustrate prosecution.

Mr Hodzi said State institutions should also up their game in dealing with cartels and the NPA is devising several measures to fight corruption in the country.

“We will need to approach our fight against corruption in a thoroughly scientific manner. We have been fighting corruption in a very blind manner hence the challenges we have been facing,” he said adding that he understood the frustration from the public as far as corruption matters are concerned. 

“I want you to understand the issue at two levels. At the emotional level, members of the public have a legitimate right to be concerned because they live with everyday results of corruption. The shortages that we are experiencing, the economic collapse which, however you look at it, is a result of corruption. That is at the emotional level,” Mr Hodzi said.

The Prosecutor General said scientifically, fighting corruption entails understanding its causes, its nature and characteristics when it mutates as cartels use their systems to fight back to maintain the status quo.

“They have got strategies and you need to have a holistic and integrated bi-scientific approach. You need to know exactly what you are doing at the end of the day. It’s like performing brain surgery, you might be emotional that somebody needs to be operated on. But if everyone gets into the operating room, they might end up causing more damage than intended,” he said.

Mr Hodzi said there is a need for co-ordination and collaboration from various bodies such as police, judiciary and Zacc to effectively deal with corruption.

The PG said he was also riding on the country’s political will from the top to effectively fight corruption in an apolitical manner.

Zacc spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure said while the issue of cartels is public knowledge, the anti-graft body needs evidence to descend on them. 

“The issue of cartels, we fully agree as Zacc that corruption is fuelled by cartels. So, we need to break those cartels. We can only break the cartels if one: there is a national consensus in the country on what the causes of corruption are and accepting the existence of cartels as a reality. This is why I keep coming to the point that we need to engage all the stakeholders so that they feel confident that we are serious about fighting corruption and they have space in that fight,” said Comm Makamure.

“That is the only way in which stakeholders and citizens can report to Zacc suspected cases of corruption because cartels are well known. What Zacc and other law enforcement agents are looking for is evidence that we can then use during our investigations and compile dockets. Again, it’s a stakeholder issue.”

Polad economic subcommittee chairperson Mr Trust Chikohora said they held the anti-graft workshop to come up with recommendations on the issue. Chronicle

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