The widening of the battle against corruption to include prevention as well as hunting down the lawbreakers is paying off for the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission which recently blocked two illegal transactions where parastatals were about to release US$18 million for services not rendered.
A major recent move to bolt the stable door before the horse bolted and the money disappeared was the ZACC decision to get parastatals and other State entities to establish integrity committees that fight and prevent corruption at institutional level.
In this prevention mode, ZACC meets parastatals’ boards almost weekly to exchange notes and to share ideas on how to stop corruption happening in the first place rather than investigate after the money has been stolen.
Such interaction has yielded positive results and saved the State a total of US$18 million between mid last year and last month.
ZACC chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo said these measures to stop corruption are yielding positive results.
“Recently, a parastatal was about to pay a certain company US$15 million for a service that had not been rendered and we had to block it. Invoices had been processed and the parastatal was about to pay when its board raised the red flag and we assisted in blocking the payment,” she said.
Another incident occurred mid last year when ZACC intervened and blocked the illegal payment of US$3 million by a State-owned firm.
In both cases, invoices and paperwork had been processed but some alert staffers reported the case to ZACC before the funds were released.
Justice Matanda-Moyo said the commission was rolling out the integrity strategy and implementation model framework to help boards of directors prevent corruption at parastatals and other State entities.
“The commission has developed an integrity strategy model framework that will assist boards to develop, implement and monitor the integrity strategy as well as to operationalise the integrity committees.
“The integrity strategy model includes instruments, processes, policies, conditions, systems and control requirements that public entities should have in place to support integrity. The model encourages self-assessment while creating governance controls which help identify, monitor and report corruption matters,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo.
Boards of public entities are required to set clear rules, regulations and policies dealing with integrity and prevention of corruption in their organisations. The strategy emphasises due diligence before contracts are signed, with the policy of full disclosure given a priority among others.
Boards are now expected to approve and render the necessary support for the establishment of integrity committees and then the boards are expected to report back to ZACC twice a year on the activities that promote integrity and prevent of corruption.
ZACC this year met the boards of public entities to introduce the integrity strategy model framework.
Starting with the two revenue collectors, the first meeting was on March 21 with the Zimbabwe National Road Administration, which collects road licence fees and the highway tolls and then two days later with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, which collects the rest of the taxes.
That second meeting also drew in the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority and the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe.
On March 28, ZACC met Printflow, Allied Timbers and CMED Private Limited.
Boards of the Grain Marketing Board, Rural Electrification Agency and the National Social Security Authority met ZACC on March 31 with the boards of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board on April 4.
The sixth meeting brought in Zimparks, NatPharm and TelOne boards on April 7.
Most of the parastatals and State entities have thrown their weight behind ZACC’s move, describing it as an effective way of fighting corruption.
Zinara chairperson Mr George Manyaya hailed the initiative saying his organisation had taken heed of the call to set up integrity committees.
“We took heed of the call to form integrity committees as we believe they are the solution to some of the malpractices that happened before at parastatals.
“The rebranded Zinara is undergoing a culture change where we are trying to preach the corporate governance and anti-graft gospel.
“The symbiotic relations we have with ZACC are exciting and we will ensure that we continue with this trajectory. Public funds belong to the people of Zimbabwe and we must ensure that they are handled with probity.
“Of late, officers from our loss control department were investigating cases and handing them over to ZACC for further investigation,” said Mr Manyaya.
Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo hailed the relations between the Zimparks board of directors and ZACC saying it will go a long way in curbing corruption.
“It is a good initiative and we support it. Corruption retards economic growth and development. We support the move. We will continue to support Government’s initiatives as we move towards Vision 2030,” he said.