14 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Corruption Driving Away Investors

ZANU PF corruption is helping to drive investors away from Zimbabwe, an analyst said on Friday.

An investigation is underway into a US$10 million bribe demanded by some ZANU PF government ministers, in discussions with an ANC-linked company.

It is understood that the company was planning a billion dollar investment in Zimbabwe's diamond industry, a plan that was scuttled because of the attempted extortion by the ZANU PF ministers.

These details were passed on to ZANU PF leader Robert Mugabe by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who sent an envoy to Zimbabwe recently with a list of names of who was involved in the extortion. This alleged proof also includes details of who, when, and where the ministers met, and how they demanded bribes. It is not yet clear when this attempted extortion happened.

Mugabe meanwhile was said to have been left fuming by the information supplied by Mbeki, which included insinuations that his party members would hand some of the extorted cash straight to him. Speaking at the ZANU PF people's conference over the weekend, Mugabe told delegates:

"I was getting complaints from outside. Former South African president Thabo Mbeki was saying some of their people in the ANC wanted to come intending to do business and this is what they have been told: 'If you want to do this business, you bring US$5 million and from that US$5 million we take US$1 million that we will take to the minister to give to the president'," Mugabe said.

He added: "If I get information stating that so and so minister is doing this, he goes. Unfortunately, sometimes complainants do not want to identify the ministers, fearing persecution but that is happening in the ministries."

Observers have noted that the former South African president's indignation with the alleged bribery is ironic, considering that South Africa is considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world, with an extremely high number of government officials implicated in corrupt activities.

South African based economic analyst Luke Zunga however said that the real problem is the ongoing damage such corruption is doing to Zimbabwe's investment climate.

"When corruption is high, then investment is low. So Zimbabwe, with this kind of corruption, is dissuading investment. ZANU PF's indigenisation policies are also part of this problem," Zunga said.

Zimbabwe was recently listed in a global corruption perception report as being the most corrupt in Southern Africa, and was also listed in the bottom 20 countries who have earned the title of most corrupt in the world.

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