Pemba — Zanzibar government is introducing long-awaited legislation to create an independent, anti-corruption agency to fight corruption.
Some human rights activists have, for a long time, demanded to have the agency in place to address corruption practices allegedly prevailing in public offices.
The Government of National Unity (GNU), led by Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, spent the past year in drafting the bill to create the anti-corruption agency, known as "Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Authority" to be tabled in the Zanzibar House of Representatives next Wednesday.
After unsuccessful attempts to introduce the anti-corruption authority during the past regime, at last the bill is scheduled to be tabled in the House beginning next week by Mr Haji Omar Kheri, Minister of State, President's office, Public service and Good Governance.
According to the bill, now available to legislators, the functions of the authority, should it be approved by the House and assented into law by the president, include receiving and investigating any complaint concerning corruption practices in any public and private body.
The role of the authority will also be to educate the public on the dangers of corruption and economic crimes and the importance of code of ethics. It will also seek to enlist and foster public support in combating corruption and economic crime on the isles.
Minister Kheri has been reiterating that the enactment of the bill would prove the government's commitment in fighting corruption as recommended by international conventions such as the SADC Protocol against corruption 2001 and the UN convention against corruption-2003. The convention has been ratified by Tanzania.
Meanwhile, members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives will also debate the proposed bill to repeal specified state leaders retirement benefit Act no. 4 of 1988 and the political leaders Act no.6 of 1999 and put in place legislation which governs procedures of paying benefits to the said people.
The bill was withdrawn last October after some of the legislators raised concern over some of the proposed provisions. But the Head of the Government business in the House, Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi, said that there was a misunderstanding of the contents in the bill.
The political leaders and their dependants include President of Zanzibar, vice-presidents as per the tenth amendment of the constitution of Zanzibar, Ministers, deputy ministers, Presidential Advisor and the Attorney General.