31 January 2019

Swaziland Continues to Be Riddled With Corruption, New Global Report Shows

Swaziland/eSwatini continues to be riddled with corruption, according to the latest annual report from Transparency International.

The kingdom ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch scored 38 out of a possible 100 in the Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018. In 2017 it scored 37 on a scale where zero is 'highly corrupt' and 100 is 'very clean'. The index ranks countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople.

Transparency International did not publish details of the corruption in Swaziland, but it is already widely known. In November 2018 national police Deputy Commissioner Mumcy Dlamini told an event for International Fraud Awareness Week Swaziland lost E30 million from the economy because of banking fraud alone during the previous year.

In an annual report ending March 2017, Acting Auditor General Muziwandile Dlamini said government financial accounts were incomplete, billions of emalangeni were unaccounted for and laid-down rules, guidelines and procedures were ignored. The offices of the Prime Minister, National Commissioner of Police, Defence Department and Correctional Services were among a string of government departments and agencies that broke the law by spending tens of millions of emalangeni on vehicles and transport running costs without authority.

In December 2017, Swaziland's Anti-Corruption Commission issued a report suggesting that 79 percent of 3,090 people interviewed in a survey believed that corruption within government was 'rife'.

The survey suggested that corruption was perceived to take place mostly in rural councils. The perceived major causes of corruption were poverty (58 percent), unemployment (54 percent) and greed (41 percent). The survey was conducted by the Swazi Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs through the ACC.

In June 2017, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) reported the kingdom, was riddled with corruption in both private and public places.

It said, 'The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state.'

It added, 'For a long time the police, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade as well as the Department of Customs and Excise have often been implicated in corrupt practices.'

It gave many examples including the case of the government propaganda organisation Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Service (SBIS) where E 1.6 million was paid to service providers for the maintenance of a machine that was neither broken nor in use. The officer who authorised the bogus job cards has since been promoted and transferred to another government department.

The report called The effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies in Southern Africa stated, 'This type of behaviour is common albeit covert and therefore difficult to monitor as goods and services are undersupplied or rerouted for personal use. The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state.'

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