There is always a raging debate in Zimbabwe between people who believe that corruption has destroyed the economy and continues to do so and those who blame sanctions. More often than not those in government or affiliated with it often say that sanctions and not corruption are to blame. They often deny that most state institutions are steeped in corruption but recently the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) bucked this trend and publicly shamed ZRP, ZINARA and VID by naming them the most corrupt state institutions in Zimbabwe.

This was revealed by ZACC’s chairperson Mrs Matanda-Moyo during a recently held anti-corruption day event in Harare. She blamed ZRP and VID for taking bribes and leaving unroadworthy vehicles on the road leading to loss of life in accidents. She also revealed that ZINARA personnel often stole as much as 70 000 ZWL per person per day at various tollgates which are meant to raise money for road repairs and improvements.

VID, ZINARA, and police have normalised corruption. They are now the most corrupt departments in government.

We are seized with this cancer and quite a number of the employees in these state departments have been arrested in recent months.

At the Shurugwi tollgate, we had to arrest all workers stationed there as they using ZINARA swiping cards and pocketing state money.

An employee would take home not less than $70 000 bond or at least more than US$200 a day.

Police officers manning the roadblocks are also corrupt as they are taking bribes from the public.

This has caused loss of life through road traffic accidents because they allow even vehicles, which are unroadworthy to pass through roadblocks.

Some people are packed like sardines in small vehicles aiding the spread of COVID-19.

Part of Mrs Matanda-Moyo’s speech on corruption

Government made loopholes

While it’s commendable that her speech at least admits that corruption is rife in state institutions it does miss one big point. Most of the acts she describes are possible thanks to a series of inexplicable government loopholes meant for bigwigs and the connections which corrupt members of the named institutions ruthlessly exploit. Take for example the transport crisis that has led to the rise in illegal taxis. It’s all entire government made. The government made the odd decision to ban kombis and made ill-equipped ZUPCO the sole provider of public transport in urban areas.

Another loophole is the RTGS and USD arbitrage opportunity that arises from the fact that the government continues to use a very low rate. More often than not agents of the state have pocketed whatever USD they receive and used their own bank cards to swipe RTGS into state coffers. This effectively means these individuals are buying USD illegally at auction rates. The government often whines about this but it wouldn’t be possible if a “fair” rate was used in government.