13 September 2017

Zimbabwe: 'Corruption Rampant in Infrastructural Projects'

There is rampant corruption in the public sector, especially in the tendering of national infrastructural projects, the Corruption Index report has revealed. The report followed studies in Zimbabwe and Zambia. It noted that the rot was to blame for poor workmanship and inflated costs in some projects. According to the report, the huge sums of money involved in infrastructure projects was the major catalyst for corruption.

Presenting the report at the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers Biennial Congress in Kariba last week, Engineer Martin Manuhwa said Zimbabwe was putting in place measures to arrest corruption.

"Corruption was generally regarded in both Zimbabwe and Zambia as the main source of leakage in business entities and that embedded cultural practices and poor economic climate were key drivers of corruption," said Eng Manuhwa.

"In Zimbabwe, the level of corruption in the public sector was found to be very rampant or very high. Although ways and means of reducing corruption were identified, there was general lack of political will to implement them."

Eng Manuhwa said Government should put in place professional codes to fight the scourge.

He said there was need to activate anti-corruption policies.

The study, which produced the report, involved over 500 engineers, contractors, politicians and consultants from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

They noted adverse influence in selection, design, award and execution of public sector construction projects.

This comes as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission last week launched a publicity and awareness campaign to find ways to deal with corruption.

Eng Manuhwa said engineers could play a major role in exposing the rot.

They can easily raise alarm were quantities would have been inflated in construction projects.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on transport and infrastructure development Cde Dexter Nduna questioned why road construction costs remained high when 80 percent of materials were locally sourced.

"We only import about 20 percent of materials needed to tar our roads, but the cost remains high," queried Cde Nduna. "We are still to get the reason from engineers."

The study recommended that only ISO 37001 compliant organisations should be engaged to undertake public sector infrastructure projects.

"Recommendation was that governments, corporate and financial institutions should insist in dealing with organisations that are compliant to ISO 37001, the anti-bribery management system standard, as it is the only standard that requires the genuine commitment of top management to reduce corruption risk by curbing bribery using policies and systems that are robust," said Cde Nduna.


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