EDITORIAL COMMENT: Special Anti-Corruption Unit to speed up prosecution of cases

Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda

Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda

Government’s fight against corruption has moved a gear up following the establishment of a Special Anti-Corruption Unit in the Office of the President and Cabinet. The establishment of the unit which was announced on Monday by the Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, is meant to improve efficiency in the fight against all forms of graft.

The unit is also expected to strengthen the effectiveness of national mechanisms for the prevention of corruption. The unit’s terms of reference include collaborating with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and other such institutions in the fight against corruption. The unit will also assist ZACC and other investigative agencies of the State in the perusal and consideration of dockets, subject to issuance of Authority to Prosecute by the Prosecutor General and will also prosecute corruption cases referred to the National Prosecuting Authority by the investigative agencies.

Government has said the unit is not meant to supersede or undermine ZACC but is instead meant to reinforce and complement the commission’s operations. The unit, Government said, will ensure a well coordinated and comprehensive approach where all the investigating arms and prosecution elements operate in a coordinated fashion.

“The unit is meant to improve the prosecutorial traffic because we were getting to a situation where the public prosecutor was overwhelmed to a point where a perception was beginning to form suggesting a lack of appetite for combating corruption,” said Presidential Press Secretary Mr George Charamba.

He said the setting up of the unit was in line with President Mnangagwa’s policy of zero tolerance to corruption. In his inauguration speech, Cde Mnangagwa identified corruption as one of the main impediments to the country’s economic growth. Since the coming into office of the new political dispensation, a lot of ground has been covered towards fighting corruption.

In January Cde Mnangagwa directed public office holders including ministers, top civil servants and parastatal bosses to declare their assets. Dr Sibanda said then that the declaration of assets was in line with President Mnangagwa’s accountability vision and observing the tenets of good corporate governance.

He said by demanding declaration of assets, President Mnangagwa was committing to holding the top officials accountable as he promised when he assumed office. A number of corruption cases investigated by ZACC are unfortunately still awaiting prosecution and it is our fervent hope that the establishment of the unit in the OPC will expedite the prosecution of these cases.

They say justice delayed is justice denied hence the need to ensure corruption cases are prosecuted at the earliest time possible. This is only possible if all the different arms of Government involved in fighting graft complement each other.