By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
07 April 2014
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is facing eviction from their offices for failing to pay rentals, a weekly newspaper has reported.
The Zimbabwe Independent said the commission has been given a 30-day ultimatum to pay overdue rentals, failure of which will result in the organization’s eviction from their Harare offices. Ahead of the latest developments there was a shortage of water at the commission’s offices which are located at the Livingstone House along Samora Machel Avenue.
An unnamed official is quoted as saying the cash-strapped commission has also received letters of demand from other creditors. So dire is the situation that the organization has virtually ceased operating. The commission’s fleet of vehicles is grounded as the organization cannot afford fuel and the phone landlines have been cut. An official said without the landlines it was difficult to function as whistle blowers cannot even reach the commission.
The Denford Chirindo-led commission last received funding in August 2013. Around the same time the commission’s term ended but the commissioners continued to report to work. At the time Chirindo expressed hope that the government would renew their contracts, but that has not happened. Commissioners are appointed by the justice minister in line with the constitution for a term of two years.
The MDC-T shadow minister for justice, Jessie Majome, said the commission’s fate indicates the government’s lack of seriousness in the fight against corruption. She said: ‘There is absolutely no political will whatsoever to maintain any measures against corruption. They say actions speak louder than words. The commission is under siege financially, politically and in every sense of the word.’
Despite the lack of funding the commission has continued to work but has been criticized for its inaction in the face of the many scandals that have been reported in the last few months. The commission is mandated with investigating and exposing cases of corruption in the public and private sectors. However, the commission never had the powers to prosecute suspects, effectively making it useless. In February the MDC-T shadow minister for Home Affairs, Lilian Timveos, called for the dissolution of Zacc and its replacement with an independent body to deal with corruption in high places.
In December 2013, a key research project found that Zimbabwe was the third most corrupt Africa country after joint leaders Nigeria and Egypt. Afrobarometer said corruption in Zimbabwe has increased in the last decade. Afrobarometer is a research project which measures public attitudes on socio-economic and political issues in sub-Saharan Africa.