MUTARE – The Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission (ZACC) says it is closing nets on corrupt Ministry of Mines officials demanding bribes for operating certificates leading to numerous cases of double allocation of claims.
ZACC spokesperson John Makamure recently revealed that the commission will institute sector specific audits, including reviewing the mining sector where corruption is rampant, to unravel corruption syndicates as well plugging policy loopholes that facilitate corruption.
“Yes, the issue of corruption at the Manicaland mines section is now in the public domain. We are closing in on all corrupt elements. We are looking into the matter seriously. In fact, there is so much corruption in the mining sector generally especially in the issuance of mining permits.
“We will bring the culprits to book. The net is closing in on all people who are involved in these corrupt activities and there are no sacred cows.
“The first thing we will be doing is to investigate the issuance of permits and the double allocation of claims. We need to find out the root cause and we want to get to the bottom of this. We need to check if there are checks and balances, maybe they are putting systems that facilitate looting,” he said.
He said they are ready to institute investigations on the Manicaland provincial mining office members who have been implicated by small scale miners in the scam involving huge sums of money.
Small scale miners lifted the lid on corruption hot pot during a Green Governance Zimbabwe Trust workshop in Penhalonga recently, where they said double allocation claims to miners has negatively affected mining production.
ZANU PF officials in Manicaland have also separately raised a red flag over the alleged massive corruption at the Ministry of Mines office against the same officials, who are alleged of working in cahoots with peggers.
Makamure said while the issue of corruption is not relegated to Manicaland only but was a wide spread within the mining sector and the commission would soon institute investigations into these allegations as well as a sector audit.
He said there will institute a comprehensive research into mining affairs with a view of coming up with policy recommendations to government to provide government wit policy recommendations to shut loopholes that are exploited for corrupt purposes.
He added, “As a commission, we have realized that there is serous corruption in the mining sector, so much leakages and the issues of corruption in the allocation of permits has been raised by many stakeholders, we are carrying out comprehensive research into mining sector focusing on leakages.”
Investigations have revealed that the corrupt acts are within the surveying and engineering departments with names of corrupt mines officials who have formed strong syndicates with middlemen to corruptly double allocate mining claims and demand bribes for the issuance of the mining licenses.
The Manicaland Provincial Mining Director Omen Sibanda is on record for preaching zero tolerance to corruption, although he admitted that the ministry was facing challenges with boundary disputes on claims where two owners are fighting for one claim.
“As a Ministry, we are applying a zero-tolerance approach to corruption. We want to encourage those affected with this to approach ZACC so that corrective measures are taken,” Sibanda said.
“We are going to speed up the dispute resolution and registration process,” he said.
In its move to fight corruption, ZACC has said there is need to restructure various institutions including government mining institutions through a comprehensive processes and systems review as well a policy amendments.