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HARARE, Feb 24– President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has reiterated that all corrupt officials should be punished severely in order to create a corrupt-free generation.

Since the exposure on corruption in state-owned enterprises and other government entities has started, President Mugabe said all those found guilty should face the full wrath of the law.

Speaking at the 21st February Movement celebrations here Sunday to mark his 90th birthday, President Mugabe said the rot had badly affected society and different sectors of the country’s economy.

“Where is the discipline? Why should someone take what does not belong to them? Corruption is theft,” he said.

President Mugabe said the government would soon separate corrupt people from genuine ones by sending those found guilty of corruption to prison. “That’s where we want now separate friends, relatives and non-relatives, thieves of that nature do not be surprised when we send them to prison. We want to shame them,” he added.

President Mugabe said corruption by senior management officials in parastatals and private companies was a hindrance to the implementation of the country’s economic blueprint, Zim Asset. “We want straightforward, honest people who will respect government property, private property- property which does not belong to them,” he said.

There have been widespread reports in the media of alleged corruption in state-linked companies such as Air Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Zimbabwe National Road Authority to mention but a few.
That has resulted in the dissolution of many parastatals boards.

Three former bosses at national airline Air Zimbabwe are in remand prison for swindling the carrier of millions of dollars in an aircraft insurance scam. Former chief executives Peter Chikumba and Innocent Mavhunga, and ex-company secretary Grace Pfumbidzayi are charged with fraud and criminal abuse of duty as public officers as they were caught up in an alleged aircraft insurance scam that saw Air Zimbabwe losing more than 5,175,000 euros and 502,000 US dollars.

Several bosses from parastatals have also been reported in the media for awarding themselves obscene salaries at the expense of service delivery. For instance the Premier Service Medical Aid Society’s Cuthbert Dube was reportedly taking home nearly 6.0 million USD a year in salaries and allowances, while the medical aid society was reeling under a huge debt.