Zimbabweans are used to it by now. A whistle blower exposes a prominent government official of corruption. After initial resistance the said official is eventually arrested and may or may not even spend a night or few in jail. The case gains prominence in the media with fellow officials promising zero tolerance. Then the case falters and dies down. The official might even be reappointed to another high level government position. The exercises has been cynically called catch and release by the wider public.

Now Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission (ZACC) says they are working to make sure that this does not happen in future cases.

We are working together to plug all the loopholes to make sure that once a suspected corruption official is arrested, he cannot walk scot-free. We have enhanced co-operation among various anti-corruption bodies

ZACC chairperson

She did not elaborate on what measures they had taken to achieve this. In the past it catch and release has been blamed on failure to follow proper procedure, shallow evidence and half-hearted prosecutions. Already the latest high profile case, involving former minister Obadiah Moyo, is plodding along the catch and release path with all the parties now out on bail.

Ministers should stay away from the procurement process

A lot of high profile corruption cases have involved the minister of a given sector interferring with the procurement process resulting in irregularities. Two prominent cases come to mind: The ZESA Gwanda Solar project and the Covid-19 procurement scandal involving Drax. ZACC chairwoman Loice Matanda-Moyo warned ministers to stay away from the procurement process.

Ministers must distance themselves from procurement because once they are involved junior officers will be forced to overlook the right procedures. Everyone must stick to their job.