Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Time to Nip Corruption in the Bud [editorial]

President Mugabe’s speech at the police’s Presidential Graduation Parade on Thursday must be taken seriously by the force, if the country is to effectively fight corruption. The President called on the police to expeditiously investigate all cases of corruption without fear or favour. His speech is important in two ways. First, it brought to the fore the view which has been held by some that the police are not moving fast in investigating cases of corruption.

And people who held such views were to some extent justified in their observation.

In the last year, a substantial number of reports on corrupt activities being perpetrated by bigwigs were reported in the media.

Out of the reports, very few cases ended up in the courts, leaving many wondering if the police were really on top of their game with regards to fighting corruption. There was a feeling in some quarters that the police were not doing enough to fight this scourge by not moving in quickly to investigate and, if need, be bring the culprits to the courts.

The police were being viewed as lethargic in their approach. Secondly, President Mugabe’s speech touches on the widely held belief that some bigwigs are being spared in the fight against corruption.

Corruption is an abominable act and all those who perpetrate it invariably lose their dignity and status in society.

Why respect those who commit such a heinous crime against the nation?

President Mugabe was simply reminding the police that their duty is to guard against those who are out to hinder the country’s development despite whatever position they occupy.

He said Government gly condemns abuse of authority, be it by individuals, the police or the public in general.

We expect the police to make a follow-up and investigate every case of corruption that is reported, be it in the media or through other means, despite the status of those involved.

Of course, we are aware that corruption is a complicated matter, very difficult to investigate and even to eliminate.

This is because most of the transactions in corruption cases are done behind closed doors and in most cases involve few people.

But everyone feels relieved when the police announce that they have busted a corruption network and this shows how concerned people are when it comes to the vice.

There is no doubt that the country is faced with multi-faceted corrupt activities in both the public and the private sectors.

Investigations must target both sectors, considering that there have been complaints in the past that the police are concentrating only on the public sector.

Yet there are a lot of filthy and corrupt deals being clinched in the private sector, which the police must equally concentrate on.

Public sector corruption is indeed a major cause for concern as it equally affects the growth of the economy which is already reeling from illegal Western sanctions.

What has surprised many is that in most cases it will be obvious that someone, somewhere is in possession of evidence on corrupt tendencies by some people, yet no action is taken on such cases.

Thorough investigations by all Government arms will always unearth such cases of blatant corruption, some of which are committed in broad daylight.

Let us take the Auditor-General’s Office, for instance.

From time to time, the office produces its reports on various Government ministries and in most cases accounting officers are found wanting and anomalies are always discovered.

Most of the anomalies border on corruption and abuse of office, yet we rarely hear that the police are investigating such ministries based on the findings of the Auditor-General’s Office.

So, the President was spot on in calling for the investigations by the police of all corruption cases.

But the investigations should be completed and the police must be able to appraise the public on their outcome.

Source : The Herald