MUTARE– The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) says it will intensify efforts to recruit competent investigators to strengthen its investigations unit.
By Donald Nyarota
ZACC officials said they have been relying on officers seconded from the Zimbabwe Republic Police since its inception but will now look to employ and train professional investigators with technical expertise in various fields.
ZACC spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure said 60 percent of the Commission’s resources would be channeled towards investigating corruption cases while 40 percent would go towards prevention measures.
He said given the complex nature of corruption cases the commission will need experts, including accountants, forensic and ICT specialists from various fields to investigate cases of graft.
“Corruption cases are complex so you need experts to unpack them. We are investing heavily into that area as ZACC where we want to strengthen our investigations unit so that it is manned by highly trained professionals coming from different areas.
“In the past, we only relied on officers seconded from the ZRP but in addition to that, we need experts from other areas to join us. We need accountants, auditors, forensic specialists, ICT specialists among others to unravel those complex corruption matters,” he said.
Comm Makamure said the corruption watchdog will push for the drafting of a legislation to protect whistleblowers.
He said the commission will be making strategic reforms to ensure that it can gather more information from whistle blowers on possible corrupt activities.
“We need our whistleblowers to be protected so there is need for enabling legislation. We have come up with a Lay Bill that we have submitted to the Attorney-General’s Office for them to look into it and draft a Whistleblower Protection Act. That way more people will come forward with information,” he said.
Comm Makamure said there was need to establish more specialised anti-corruption courts within the High and Supreme Courts, to ensure a quick turnover of corruption cases.
He said the special courts were officially launched in March 2018, were in response to public dissatisfaction with the delays in finalisation of corruption cases, adding that they are pushing for prioritization of corruption cases in superior courts.
“There have been appeals after appeals in the courts. And what happens if one appeals to a superior court, their appeal is not prioritised, it will join the queue, and there are many other criminal matters before the High Court and the Supreme Court.
“If for example, we say a case should be finalised within six months, no matter the number of appeals, the court will know that in six months that matter must be finalised. It only requires a change of rules to allow that to happen.”
He added, “So, we are asking for rules that allow corruption cases to be prioritised. If those courts are established and an appeal is made at the High Court, the matter will be heard in the anti-corruption court. That is another way of expediting corruption cases.”