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Mnangagwa against 'catch and release syndrome'

by Staff reporter
12 Jul 2020 at 10:37hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has challenged the justice system to step up the fight against corruption and put an end to the "catch and release syndrome", while the arrest of "small and big fish" should become the new normal.

The President called for thorough investigations on corruption cases to ensure successful prosecutions and fair justice to lawbreakers. He made the remarks in a televised address last night to launch the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, which coincided with commemorations for the Africa Anti-Corruption Day.

"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. 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."

President Mnangagwa said his Government was sincere in its fight against corruption, as seen by new endeavours undertaken to fight graft.

"At the advent of the Second Republic, and upon my assumption of the Office of President, my Government prioritised the fight against corruption and declared zero tolerance to this vice. To this end, we continue evaluating progress in fighting corruption and have made several changes to legislation and adopted best practices. Specifically, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) was re-constituted and capacitated to better deliver on its mandate as outlined in our Constitution. In addition, we established Special Anti-Corruption Courts, established a new Special Anti-Corruption Unit within my Office, enacted the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act and required Cabinet members to declare their assets."

Fighting corruption was essential in the attainment of Vision 2030.

"As citizens, rest assured and be emboldened by the political will demonstrated by my Government in the fight against corruption. It is against this backdrop that I take the opportunity of this commemoration to launch the National Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2020-2024. This strategy is a roadmap in the fight against corruption in Zimbabwe as we accelerate our quest to achieve Vision 2030. The implementation of the strategy must be robust and responsive to changes and new realities that may emerge, and must build a tradition of integrity, honesty and hard work," he said.

Corruption has permeated all sections of society, contrary to the notion that it only affected the public sector, said the President.

"Furthermore, I challenge 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. 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'."

In her statement to commemorate Africa Anti-Corruption Day, Zacc chair Justice Loyce Matanda-Moyo said Zimbabwe subscribes to the African Union Aspiration for Agenda 2063, which speaks to a continent characterised by good governance, justice and the rule of law. She said in line with this year's theme, the judiciary should be more efficient in fighting corruption. This year's theme is, "Fighting corruption through effective and efficient judicial systems."

"It is my strong conviction that all our collaborative efforts should be invested in strengthening judicial systems to deal with corruption issues decisively. The judiciary is an essential stakeholder in the justice delivery value chain and the expectations on how corruption cases are handled within the African continent is quite high and requires co-ordinated efforts among law enforcement agencies and the judiciary."

Justice Matanda-Moyo called on the judiciary to impose stiffer sentences against corruption.

"In line with our constitutional mandate, we shall continue to lobby for the strengthening of the judicial system to efficiently deal with corruption and hinder individuals from benefiting from proceeds of the scourge. As a Commission, we also kindly urge the judiciary to impose deterrent sentences to perpetrators of corruption and further ensure that effective and efficient systems are put in place to deal with corruption matters.

"All critical stakeholders and the judiciary are urged to collectively work together towards a common purpose of improving the current and existing judicial systems in order to concretise the continent's 'political will' and commitment towards a corrupt-free, citizen-driven, democratically governed Africa, as envisioned by Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want."

The African Anti-Corruption Day is commemorated on July 11 and was declared in 2018 to give impetus, recognition and prominence to the collaborative fight against corruption within the continent.

Source - sundaynews