Government’s plans to carry out lifestyle audits on Council officials has been dismissed as a defective agenda that will not bring the desired results.
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) says the plan, though noble, is defective in that that it lacks supportive legislation, is based on underhand political motivations and is not holistic to cover all public officials.
No Supporting Legislation
Reuben Akili, an official with CHRA said lifestyle audits should not be limited to a portion of public servants.
“The issue of lifestyle audits are welcomed however, the Ministers and senior government officials must be the first because they are not immune to corruption.
“In fact the grand corruption that we have witnessed in our country has sucked in Ministers and senior government officials. This should be the first phase”, he said.
“Corruption should not be localized but we should focusing from the very top with Cabinet, Permanent Secretaries and all government departments.
“When they start from there, then they should be a trickle down effect.
Akili added that the absence of supporting legislation for what happens if one is caught on the wrong side of a lifestyle audit is a loophole that defeats the purpose of the plan.
“We need a strong fight against corruption that is supported by legislation and not slogans.
“Currently people will get away with murder because there is no supporting legislation. We need a corruption fight that is genuine and not politically motivated”, he added.
Start at the Top
CHRA Director Lorraine Mupasiri-Sani added that the idea of lifestyle audits is not bad, “however, the best practice would be to start the audits with senior government officials so that they lead by example”.
“We are also concerned with reported incidents of corruption in government and if they are sincere about ensuring accountability, then the lifestyle audits should start with government officials themselves”.
“Focusing on local authorities alone may be construed as bullying. We believe that all public officials should account in the same way”, she said.
This week Provincial Development Coordinator Mr Tafadzwa Muguti revealed that government will carry our lifestyle audits on Council officials.
The supposed agenda is to curb the rampant spread of corruption at Town House which has seen the illegal selling of stands by officials.
Various Council officials have already been arrested on corruption charges and they include former Mayor Herbert Gomba, former Town Clerk Hosiah Chisango and many other directors.
Operation Wakazvitenga Sei
In June the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) launched an operation code-named “Wakazvitenga Sei” which carried lifestyle audits for the rich and sought clarification on how they amassed their wealth.
ZACC reportedly forfeited to the State al unexplained wealth.
ZACC chair Justice Loyce Matanda-Moyo said the anti-graft body was empowered by the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Act to seize assets bought through proceeds of crime.
Even if the suspected corrupt person is acquitted by the courts, the unexplained wealth orders give the commission and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) power to forfeit the properties.
The law demands that anyone suspected of corruption explain his or her source of wealth, failure of which they will lose the properties.
It’s however still not clear if much has been done by the corruption body in repossessing the ill-gotten wealth.