As Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has said it continues to uphold the integrity and principles of good governance for a corruption-free Zimbabwe by 2030.
Addressing members of the press on the 9th of December 2020 in Harare, the ZACC Chairperson Justice Matanda-Moyo said the fight against corruption was real and it takes tireless efforts and undivided dedication for the nation to totally weed the vice out.
“Success in combating corruption does not only lies in the incarceration of accused persons but should include recovery of ill-gotten wealth. As ZACC, we urge every Zimbabwean citizen to take the center stage in the fight against corruption. We all converge today as ample testimony of the value attached to the fighting of the corruption vice in Zimbabwe. This day the 9th of December marks the dedication and commitment world over to fighting corruption,” she said.
The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) on October 31, 2003. In December 2005, General Assembly designated December 9 as International Corruption Day to raise awareness of corruption and the role of the Convention in combating and preventing corruption.
All Member States signatory to the UNCAC came together to declare the 9th of December every year as a day to be dedicated specifically to ending corruption and promoting the upholding of the principles of good governance that feed into the achievement of this noble goal.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to the UNCAC which it signed on February 202004 and ratified on March 8, 2007.
The Chairperson pointed out that Zimbabwe as a Member State of the UNCAC was joining the world in denouncing corruption and raising awareness on the ills of corruption and reflect on the efforts by Government and ZACC to fight this vice.
“This year’s anti-corruption marks the campaign countdown towards the United Nations General Assembly special session against corruption scheduled to be held from 2 to the 4th of June 2021. Corruption must be fought and cannot be fought in isolation. The impact on global economies and livelihoods of citizens can never be underrated.”
The corrosive effects of corruption, she said, reverse hard-worn development goals, threaten progress, stability, and the development of the continent as she indicated that corruption promotes inequality, injustice and discourages foreign investment.
“Corruption is standing in the way of Sustainable Development. The United Nations estimates that the world loses a staggering USD 3, 6 trillion from corruption of which development countries lose about 1, 26 trillion annually. Business and individuals are estimated to pay USD 1 trillion in bribes to public officials while USD 2, 6 trillion was stolen due to other corrupt activities. Zimbabwe is said to be losing about USD 684 million due to illicit financial flaws.”
The United Nations Development Program estimates that ten times of funds lost due to corruption in developing countries could be used for the purposes of development. It is said to note that corruption keeps hitting hard on the ordinary citizens who are often more reliant on public goods and services and have limited means to look for alternative private services as they also lack the resources to defend themselves.
Matanda-Moyo also stressed that there was an urgent need for countries to ensure that anti-corruption is an integral part of all sustainable development efforts to end poverty and fostering resilient and inclusive institutions and societies amongst others.
The International Anti-Corruption Day, she said, comes at a time when the world is facing unprecedented times of Covid- 19 pandemic and it gives the nation an opportunity to commit to collective action in preventing and combating corruption as we reflect on the devastating consequences of Covid-19 on Government institutions, the economy, and society as a whole.
“Covid-19 pandemic has not only caused devastating effects on the loss of life but has created unprecedented corruption risks. The epidemic has created vast opportunities for corruption to thrive due to the relaxation of safeguards under the emergence of protocols and weakened oversight mechanisms created as a response to Covid-19.”
Zimbabwe as a member of the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group and Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Southern Africa is making great strides to ensure measures that guarantee maximum cooperation is given to state parties during the request for extradition processes and the return of stolen assets.
The Commission has also partnered with the European Union, International Commission of Jurists, the Germany Development Agency in the ZACC and Zimbabwe has received capacity building in training from SADC, World Bank, and other organizations.
This year’s theme for the International Anti-Corruption Day was running under the theme, “Recover with Integrity to Build Forward Better.”