Editor's Comment

Take corruption fight to higher level

ZAMBIA has made huge strides in the fight against corruption, but clearly there is still a lot to be done. This is especially so because the corrupt are constantly reviewing their manner of committing the crime to evade justice.
Over the years Government has stiffened anti-corruption laws and institutional set-up of the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC).
The ACC has on its part stepped up efforts by working with corporate bodies through the establishment of integrity committees and the protection of whistle-blowers.
This has helped to keep the law-breakers in check but, again, there is still a lot more to be done to ensure that those that still want to continue with their misdeeds do not get the chance to do so without being cornered and caged.
The ideal situation is preventing the crimes from being committed in the first place. Integrity committees, which some companies have embraced with a lot of zeal, should up their game in having every employee roped into the fight against corruption.
The ACC has made considerable strides in bringing culprits to book but there must be a lot of disappointment that it is not securing as many convictions as it desires from the cases it prosecutes.
It is important to secure convictions because these send a strong message to others who may still be involved or are planning to perpetuate corruption.
While some institutions such as Zambia Revenue Authority stand out as frontline fighters in curbing corruption in its ranks, the same cannot be said about other public entities.
Many, if not most, local authorities and still corruption hotspots, especially on land issues. The scourge just seems too deep-rooted to go away.
The Zambia Police Service, too, still has ugly scars of corruption, especially in the traffic section, where new wounds open up almost as quickly as old ones heal.
This makes some citizens feel that there is no crusade effective enough to end corruption in the country, and this is despite a lot of goodwill from Government.
The problem with public perception is that it is focused on Government and not the private sector, where it may also be rife.
There is therefore need to escalate the fight against corruption given the public perception.
Lately, there has been a lot of talk regarding corruption although most of it has been speculative as the people who have been making the allegations have not tendered the evidence to relevant security wings.
Some whistle-blowers are afraid to report despite protection being guaranteed.
The biggest fight on the hand of the ACC is both corruption itself and perception.
In view of this, the ACC and the security wings it collaborates with such as the Zambia Police Service, the Drug Enforcement Commission and the Financial Intelligence Centre need to have their capacities boosted.
The skills should be diverse in nature considering the advancement in technology. The law-enforcers just have to be ahead of the criminals, at all times.
Thankfully, Government is cognisant of this need and as President Lungu said on Thursday, the State will build institutional capacity of law enforcement agencies by equipping them with skills to eliminate corruption at all levels of governance.

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