19 January 2013

Zambia: ACC Vows to Step Up Graft Fight

THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has vowed to continue intensifying investigations into graft cases by working professionally and objectively this year.

Last year, the commission received 2, 337 reports of corruption cases compared to 1, 228 in 2011.

ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono said in Lusaka yesterday that the commission would this year continue to work diligently without fear or favour in line with its priority areas of operations.

He said at a press briefing that ACC was geared to build on its successes and continue to develop regulations such as gift registers, asset disclosures, and whistleblower protection in line with pieces of legislation.

"In this regard, the commission will focus on completing the setting up of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) that started in 2012.

"The unit is meant to deal with cases of complex and high profile nature. The setting up of the SIU is expected to be completed over a period of three years," Mr Moono said.

He said in 2013, ACC's priority areas would include assessing effectiveness of current Integrity Committees (ICs) in tackling issues of corruption and taking measures to improve their use before rolling out more ICs.

The commission would continue to conduct corruption vulnerability assessments in more public institutions in order to establish institutions that were more vulnerable to corrupt activities.

Mr Moono said the commission would target corrective interventions towards such institutions to lower the incidents of corruption.

ACC would further scale up efforts in conducting integrity education in schools, the community and the general civil service in a bid to increase levels of integrity.

"In addition, plans are underway to introduce integrity and governance educational programmes in learning institutions," Mr Moono said.

He said the commission would integrate anti-corruption issues in tertiary education and introduce training programmes for teachers to appropriately teach new topics on corruption in new curricula.

The commission would scale up dissemination of the National Anti-Corruption Policy (NACP) by fully implementing stakeholder involvement approved through training and coordinating NACP focal officers in stakeholder institutions.

On the cases ACC received in 2012, Mr Moono said the commission received 2, 337 reports in total as compared to 1,228 reports in 2011.

Out of the cases, 1, 596 reports did not have elements of corruption and compared to 919 in 2011. In 2012, 741 reports contained elements of corruption and of those reports, 484 were authorised for investigations.

At least 254 reports never had sufficient details of corruption offences and that no action was taken on them and advice was given accordingly although some cases were referred to relevant institutions for administrative action.

By the close of 2012, ACC had a total of 733 cases under investigations and a total of 89 prosecution cases before the courts of law.

The commission recorded 31 arrests countrywide during the year while 13 convictions and nine acquittals were also recorded.

Mr Moono said a total of 44 cases were at trial stage while nine were at appeal, eight awaiting judgment, four at defence stage, one awaiting ruling and only two withdrawals were made.

He said the commission made significant successes in 2012 such as developing tools for monitoring the NACP dissemination countrywide and training of civil society organisations on their role in fighting corruption.

ACC also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Transparency International Zambia which allowed the two institutions to jointly conduct the Zambia Bribe Payers' Index survey for 2012, which measured instances of bribery in public and private sectors.

Mr Moono said the survey had been concluded and that the report was expected to be published soon.

He, however, bemoaned inadequate funding and lack of ACC presence in all the districts.

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