The Zimbabwe Anti -Corruption Commission (ZACC) has implored government to protect whistleblowers from victimisation as they assist the institution in fighting corruption.
A whistleblower is a person, who could be an employee of a company, or a government agency, disclosing information to the public or some higher authority about any wrongdoing, which could be in the form of fraud, corruption, etc.
This came out during a virtual meeting held by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ), Thursday, on the need to introduce a whistle-blower protection Act to help fight corruption in the country.
Speaking during the meeting, ZACC spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure said the commission has proposed a bill to protect whistleblowers who have been victimised for exposing corruption.
“Since coming into office last year in July ZACC has received several reports of witnesses being victimised for reporting suspected corruption which explains why the commission has moved with speed to propose whistler blower protection provisions in the anti-corruption lay bill,” said the commissioner.
“We have a comprehensive section in that lay bill that is speaking to its deployer and we are proposing punitive penalties for the victimisation of whistleblowers,”.
He added that the bill has been submitted to the government and they are expecting the bill to be enacted before the year ends.
“Our lay bill is ready we have submitted it to the attorney general’s office and our expectation is that lay bill should be enacted into law by the third quarter of this year but ZACC does not go and table a bill before parliament so what we are only able to do is propose,” he said.
ZACC has since approached the National Assembly to help expedite the enactment of the law.
The law seeks to encourage anyone who has knowledge of the commission of illegal corrupt practices to report them to ZACC and to provide protection to the person against prejudicial action or penalisation of such persons
The commissioner also added that they need to retain 15 percent of the value of assets they recover to ensure financial independence.
“We are proposing in the lay bill to retain 15 percent of the assets that we recover to financially capacitate ZACC because if we just rely on treasury funding it will be very difficult for ZACC to be effective given that economic challenges in the country,” he said.
“If you do not have financial independence sometimes it is very difficult for an institution to be effective so that is an area that as ZACC we have agreed we need to resolve so that ZACC is able to manage its own finances although it is not even a treasury it should be able to manage its own budget.”