Zimbabwe remains among the world’s most corrupt, says watchdog

Zimbabwe remains among the world’s most corrupt, says watchdog

HARARE, January 25 (The Source) – Zimbabwe remains among the world’s most corrupt countries, according to results of a survey by global watchdog Transparency International released on Wednesday.

The southern African nation ranked 154 out of 176 countries on TI’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) with a score of 22 points, from 21 over the past three years.

TI, a leading global crusader against graft, says its annual corruption perception index is based on expert opinion and measures perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide.

Zimbabwe’s police, tender board and tax agency are considered to be the most corrupt public institutions, and are costing the country $1 billion annually, according a report released by TI’s local office in November last year.

The lower-ranked countries in the index are plagued by untrustworthiness and badly functioning public institutions like the police and judiciary. Even where anti-corruption laws are on the books, in practice they’re often skirted or ignored.

“Over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories in this year’s index fall below the midpoint of our scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The global average score is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country’s public sector,” Transparency International said in the report.

Critics say Zimbabwe’s government is not committed to fighting corruption, despite having set up an anti-graft body in 2014. The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has yet to resolve a single case and is accused of being used to achieve political ends in President Robert Mugabe’s faction-riddled ZANU-PF party.

Its most high profile case last year was its unsuccessful bid to have Higher Education Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo arrested over allegations of diverting $430,000 meant for government programmes to personal use.

But it routinely ignores adverse reports by the country’s auditor-general on abuse of public sector funds. In 2015 the auditor-general found 22 ministries, out of a total 26, to have abused funds as well as having flouted procurement procedures and governance rules.

Energy Minister Samuel Undenge admitted to failing to observe the law when the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) made an unsecured advance of $5 million to controversial firm Intratrek, a company fronted in Zimbabwe by Wicknell Chivayo. He did not get a visit from ZACC officials.

The payment was purportedly for preparatory work on the 100MW Gwanda solar plant, one of several power contracts that Intratrek has been awarded by the government.

No country got close to a perfect score in the CPI though Denmark and New Zealand are the top ranked both with scoring 90.

Botswana remains the highest ranked African country at number 35 with a score of 60. Zimbabwe is ranked higher than 11 other African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (156), Burundi (159), South Sudan (175) and Somalia (176).