Address corruption to unlock funding: EU tells Zim

HARARE - Zimbabwe needs to deal with, and address corruption levels to unlock funding, a European Union official has said, amid indications that the country’s high levels of domestic debt and fiscal deficit are being driven by rampant corruption.

EU envoy to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme, last week told delegates at his half-term commemoration meeting in the capital that government needed to show it was willing to deal with corrupt individuals in an atmosphere where rule of law and consistence in policy prevailed.

“It is clear from all perspectives that as long as there are huge volumes of corruption it is difficult to imagine that we will inject money in the economy. We are not injecting money in an economy which is leaking, and this is not ideal for any investor” Van Damme said, adding the investment-parched country was not going to have any serious investors if corruption cases were not properly dealt with.

His remarks come as government is dealing with a corruption storm following corruption allegations against Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who is accused of having misused $450 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund.

Several people have been calling for his arrest which, according to Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, can only be sanctioned by President Robert Mugabe.

While Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently told the House of Assembly that Cabinet ministers and vice presidents could be prosecuted if there were reasonable grounds they had committed an offence, government has been accused of paying lip service to the corruption fight.

“We hear all these reports, they are encouraging. But, arrests need to follow up such reports and subsequent prosecution.

“This way, investors understand that the law holds in the country and they can sleep well after putting their money in,” the diplomat said.

Impoverished Zimbabwe was recently ranked the most corrupt country in southern Africa by Transparency International after emerging 150 out of 168 countries included in the 2015 Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

Mugabe has also been accused of paying lip service to the fight against graft despite fears that corruption has become very pronounced in institutions such as the police and the judiciary.

Mugabe, who has in the past admitted that his Cabinet ministers are corrupt, rarely takes action against influential people implicated in serious graft cases.

Earlier this year, the 92-year- old pointed out that the country had lost an estimated $15 billion to leakages in the diamond sector, but did not pursue legal action against the supposed offenders.

Transparency International Zimbabwe also recently pointed out that the country lacked accountable, effective and ethical leadership leading to poor and ineffective institutions.

Despite countless reports on abuse of public sector funds reports by the country’s auditor-general, Mildred Chiri, the documents have largely been ignored.

In 2015, 22 ministries were found to have abused funds as well as having flouted procurement procedures and governance rules but no corrective action was taken.

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