Zimbabwe launches corruption busting whistle-blower app

By Staff reporter | 09 Sep 2020 at 20:04hrs
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has, in partnership with various stakeholders including Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ), launched an online whistle-blower platform to encourage citizens to report corrupt activities.

This comes as the commission recently set itself a target to complete and submit 8o dockets to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for prosecution by December 31.

Speaking during the launch of the whistle-blower application, Zacc chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo said in order for the commission to meet its targets, a platform where whistle-blowers feel safe to report cases of corruption was essential.

"First, the whistle-blower platform provides easy access to an instant anonymous and straightforward reporting tool, empowering citizens to report safely, loudly and visibly when corrupt officials and public service providers abuse their positions of power.

"Second, the tip-off application helps break the silence around the daily occurrence of corruption and seamless interaction among participants or the whistle-blowers.

"Third, the application can be a base for public expenditure tracking, where public funds can be protected from greedy individuals and most importantly, it provides an avenue for users to anonymously submit evidence in cases that ordinarily collapse due to lack of evidence," Matanda-Moyo said.

Whistle-blowing is a term used when a person passes on information concerning corrupt practices such as fraud, bribery and abuse of power.

Matanda-Moyo further highlighted that the whistle-blower platform has a case management dashboard that will enable the commission to keep track of all cases.

"It (the whistle-blower platform) is also in times like now where the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is ravaging communities an innovation that assists the commission in executing its mandate with minimum human physical contact. I therefore cannot over emphasise the immense significance of this platform and encourage members of the public to use it," she said.

According to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the country loses about US$1,8 billion per year through corruption. Recently, a Corruption Impact Assessment study ranked Zimbabwe 24 out of 100 countries on the Corruption Perception Index, being very corrupt, while the International Budget Partnership (IBP) ranked Zimbabwe 52 out of 117 countries in terms of budget transparency.

"In my opening remarks at the first press briefing in 2019, I noted the challenges that are bedevilling the commission and key among them was the lack of a whistle-blower protection framework.

"As much as we want the public to report cases of corruption, we as the commission have to ensure that we provide a platform that ensures the non-disclosure of the identity of whistle-blowers and security of the information given.

"I must hasten to say that the commission drafted a lay bill with the assistance of its partners which was given to the attorney-general on 17 June, 2020.

"We implore the attorney-general and the Justice minister to treat this matter as a matter of urgency," Matanda-Moyo said.

Speaking at the same event, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) senior legal advisor and Zimbabwe team leader Blessing Gorejena said the mobile platform, which guarantees the anonymity of whistle-blowers, would go a long way in ensuring that Zacc achieves its mandate of ending corruption.

Gorejena further indicated that corruption had remained a key challenge in Zimbabwe, adding that if unabated it could negatively impact on democracy and the lives of vulnerable members of the community.



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