President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday said the arrest and successful prosecution of all corrupt officials regardless of rank and connections must be the new normal.
In a televised address to mark Africa Anti-Corruption Day, President Mnangagwa said his government continues to prioritize the fight against corruption as evidenced by the arrest and conviction of government officials.
Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo was the latest serving Cabinet Minister to be nabbed for allegedly awarding tenders for medicines and consumables worth US$60 million to a company which had failed due diligence.
He was subsequently fired from government.
Former Energy and Power Development Minister Samuel Undenge was also jailed for two and half years for corruptly awarding a public relations contract to a firm for the Zimbabwe Power Company, without going to tender.
Former Environment and Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira is being tried for allegedly defrauding the National Social Security Authority of US$85 million.
But President Mnangagwa said there is ample evidence of his administration’s resolve to crack down on corruption.
“The culture of long, drawn-out prosecutions and the “catch and release syndrome” must come to an end. The arrest and successful prosecution of corrupt “big and small fish” alike, must be the new normal,” warned President Mnangagwa.
President Mnangagwa challenged the private sector, civil society, political parties, churches and other socio-economic groups to cultivate integrity and high ethical standards in the execution of their various functions.
“Members of the criminal justice system and those in institutions tasked to fight corruption must improve on the investigation into, and prosecution of, corruption cases. They must be above reproach and must ensure that all cases of corruption within their rank and file are thoroughly investigated, with corrupt officials punished,” he said.
The President used the opportunity to launch the National Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2020-2024, a roadmap in the fight against corruption in Zimbabwe.
President Mnangagwa noted the involvement of the public and private sectors, Civil Society Organizations, trade and industry, media and professional societies, among others, in the development of the Anti-Corruption Strategy.
“I urge us to continue with this unity of purpose, and to rid ourselves of “them and us” mentality. The perception that corruption only occurs in the public sector will only slow us down in fighting corruption in other sectors of our economy.
“As we go forward, the anti-corruption fight must be anchored at the community level, and must deal with both sides of corrupt practices, that is, the “givers” and the “receivers”,” he said.
He urged Parliament to expedite the development of legislation that protects whistle-blowers.
“Let me reassure the Nation that my Government will continue to weed out and eradicate corruption. No one is above the law,” said the President.