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Illicit dealings cost Zimbabwe $2bn annually

by Staff reporter
15 Oct 2021 at 06:16hrs | Views
Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo has said the country is losing about $2 billion annually through illicit dealings with the private sector being the major culprits.

She was speaking on the first day of the 2021 Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) annual conference where Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda also implored the private sector to take an active role in fighting corruption and participating in the country's legislative agenda to drive the country forward.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said the fact that Zacc started by investigating corruption in the public sector and Government should not be misconstrued to mean that Government is more corrupt than the private sector.

She said corruption involving tax evasion, externalisation of funds and understating figures done mostly by the private sector was a burden to the country's economy.

"The private sector is highly corrupt and as such the major culprits are from the sector. We merely started with Government because we saw that if we start with the private sector there will be an outcry. About US$6 trillion is lost globally through corrupt activities while Zimbabwe loses between $1,7 and $1,9 billion annually through illicit dealings. This is a lot of money and we really need to do something.

"It is because of corrupt activities of the private sector that we find ourselves in this situation as a country. You are not paying tax and this tax evasion is serious in Zimbabwe. Most of you call yourselves mbinga but you don't pay tax.

You are understating value on importation of goods and some inflate figures because you would have externalised funds," said Justice Matanda-Moyo.

She said Zacc had established anomalies in the export of tobacco and this is among other targeted areas for investigation.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said Zacc's mandate is to fight corruption and theft while at the same time promoting honesty and discipline in the country.

She said since last year Zacc had submitted 180 cases to the National Prosecuting Authority for prosecution and most of the cases are yet to be tried.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said there have been 12 convictions since 2019 while some immovable and movable properties including vehicles and houses have been seized.

She said Zacc had also helped the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) recover some taxes.

"We are working on an inter-agency cooperation, we need to cooperate as agencies and those of you holding onto illicit assets come forward, we can forego the criminal aspect if you come on your own," said Justic Matanda-Moyo.

She said there is a need for cooperation between the private sector, Zacc and Government if the war against corruption is to be won.

Justice Matanda-Moyo invited the private sector to work with Zacc and Government through the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, in which the sector is also included in the steering committee.

Speaking during same conference, Adv Mudenda said the country cannot prosper without its citizens changing their work ethic.

"We cannot improve our economy if our work ethic does not change. As commerce and industry you should leverage on technology and innovation hubs being established at tertiary institutions.

You can't talk about productivity if you don't embrace digitalisation, innovation and work with Parliament and the Executive," he said.

Adv Mudenda said the private sector should be part of the budget and legislative making process.

The conference which was held under the theme: "Managing disruptive change", ended yesterday.

Source - The Chronicle
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