Anti-Corruption Policy and Law Reforms

Campaign Focal PointAllan Chaumba
Telephone contact+263 78 949 0816
WhatsApp+263 78 949 0816
Description of the Issue
ACT-SA campaigns for anti-corruption laws and policies that are not only effective but that are in line with the SADC Protocol against Corruption, the AU Convention  on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the United Nations Convention against Corruption among other best practices. 
Whilst huge gaps exist in some laws that ACT-SA reviewed, the organisation has also noted gaps in the implementation or enforcement of existing legal and policy frameworks which makes the fight against corruption problematic.
What is the proposed solution?
As part of its strategy, ACT-SA engages in evidence-based advocacy for anti-corruption policy and law reforms. It does not only focus on anti-corruption laws and policies but scrutinizes anti-corruption practices and institutional arrangements to make sure that they are effective, efficient and sustainable.
What has ACT-SA done?

ACT-SA flags gaps or deficits  in the existing anti-corruption legal and policy frameworks benchmarked against international best practices. In Zimbabwe, the organisation carried out an assessment on existing anti-corruption laws, policies, practices and institutional arrangements. 

-1- Study on gaps in Zimbabwean anti-corruption laws, policies, practices and institutional arrangements.

The initial 2013 study supported by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) noted that Zimbabwe had taken very positive steps in enacting anti-corruption legislation through the Constitution of Zimbabwe that gave rise to the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC). However, whilst the different anti-corruption laws, policies, practices and institutional arrangements. substantially conforms to international best practices, there is evidently lack of political will to fight corruption. 

In the 2013 report, ACT-SA gave several recommendations that include the following:

Consolidating all anti-corruption related legislationOverall, it was proposed that Zimbabwe consider consolidating all corruption-related legislative matters in one law to create a comprehensive legal framework and also examine ways to enhance coordination among the different institutions. In particular, Zimbabwe could benefit from adopting the following legislative and related measures: a) Monitoring the application of the bribery provisions regarding the intended purpose in cases involving public officials; should the judiciary not interpret the law accordingly in future cases, consider possible legislative amendments; b) Coverage of persons performing unpaid services or functions for the State or a public enterprise; c) Bribery (active and passive) of foreign public officials and officials of public international organizations; d) A provision on trading in influence to ensure greater legal certainty in future cases in line with the Convention; e) A system of asset and income declarations applicable to high-level public officials; f) The establishment of corruption offences under consideration by Zimbabwe as serious offences to qualify as predicate crimes for money-laundering; g) Enhancement of the fines specified in the Criminal Law to deter legal persons from engaging in corruption; h) Efforts to ensure the ongoing implementation of UNCAC article 30, paragraph 1, in particular concerning minimum sentences and applicable fines; i) Strengthening measures to promote the reintegration of convicted persons into society;  j) Steps to clarify the legislation in relation to the conversion of criminal proceeds and intermingled proceeds, as well as value based confiscation; k) Expanding the term “police officer” in the Confiscation Act to also include officers of ZACC to allow them to conduct searches and seizures independently; l) The protection of witnesses, experts and victims in corruption-related cases, specifically with respect to the draft law on protection of witnesses, whistle-blowers and reporting persons; m) Measures to formally report convictions to the licensing authorities for appropriate action, including possible withdrawing of licenses and blacklisting; n) Continued attention to spontaneous information sharing among law enforcement authorities in corruption cases; and continued efforts to ensure the public reporting of corruption. 
Adequate financial and human resources to relevant anti-corruption bodies. The importance of continued attention and dedication of resources to the fight against corruption in the private sector by relevant anti-corruption bodies in Zimbabwe was emphasized, in particular ZACC, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Department of Anti-Corruption and AntiMonopolies in the Ministry of Home Affairs. It was observed that a lack of resources to raise awareness and provide adequate training to enhance staff capacity contributed to a perception of mistrust in some criminal justice institutions. In order to address this issue it is recommended that: a) Staff capacity of criminal justice institutions is built, especially in the provinces, in particular through training. b) Decentralization in the provinces be established as a matter of priority by ZACC. c) ZACC continues as a matter of priority to raise awareness of its functions, increase transparency, facilitate the reporting of corruption, and raise public confidence in the fight against corruption, including via its website. d) Public awareness campaigns be conducted by ZACC and the Zimbabwe e) Republic Police in conjunction with other stakeholders, including civil society. f) Zimbabwe considers whether there is a need to raise awareness of the National Anti-Corruption Policy adopted in 2004 to strengthen the enforcement of existing measures at the top levels of the legislature, executive and judiciary, as well as heads of agencies. g) Zimbabwe considers whether ZACC’s oversight role could be enhanced by making ZACC recommendations binding on the subject institutions. Moreover, powers of arrest, search and seizure would enhance ZACC operations. h) Some prosecutorial powers or secondments of prosecutors to ZACC would enhance its ability to effectively combat corruption
Enhanced technical assistance could assist Zimbabwe in more fully implementing ant-icorruption legislationa) Capacity-building programmes for authorities responsible for establishing and managing protection programmes and seeing best practices; b) On-site assistance by a relevant expert as well as model agreements or arrangements; c) A need for training of investigative personnel in ZACC; d) Technological assistance (e.g. set-up and management of databases/information-sharing systems); on-site assistance by a relevant expert; and, capacity-building programmes for authorities responsible for cross-border law enforcement cooperation; e) Capacity-building programmes for authorities responsible for cross-border law enforcement cooperation; f) On-site assistance by a relevant expert, and capacity-building programmes for authorities responsible for designing and managing the use of special investigative techniques
Adopting a normative framework that acts a benchmark to strengthen and consolidate the actions taken by Zimbabwe to combat corruption by adoptinga) Zimbabwe should make the relevant notifications to the United Nations that it could in principle apply UNCAC as a legal basis for extradition, as well as the acceptable language for mutual legal assistance requests. b) Some prosecutorial powers or secondments of prosecutors to ZACC would enhance its ability to effectively combat corruption. c) Although bank secrecy is not a ground for declining MLA, Zimbabwe could consider a specific prohibition in the mutual legal assistance legislation or in a banking statute against bank secrecy as a ground for declining mutual legal assistance. d) Zimbabwe should consider, in the context of ongoing legislative amendments, explicitly addressing the admissibility of evidence derived from special investigative techniques in its existing legislation.
Classification of offences in the Anti Corruption Commission Acta) The Anti Corruption Commission has to be reviewed with a view to classify offences that fall under the Act. Whilst mention is made of some offences such as money laundering when the Act is read with other statutes in Zimbabwe such as the Serious Offences Act, there is scope for greater offences as elaborated in the UNCAC as well as the AUCAC. It will also be prudent to codify the various offences that fall within the realm of corrupt offences under one statute for easy reference. 
Greater institutional capacity of the Anti Corruption Commission a) There is a need for greater human and financial capacity of the Anti Corruption Commission in order to enable it to effectively undertake its mandate. Additionally, there is need for greater clarity in so far as its functions and mandate is concerned. There is need to align these with the benchmarks set 48 by the regional instruments in areas such as its independence, its investigative powers, the value of its reports and recommendations to government, its independence from the executive etc
Enhanced role of the civil society (a) There is a need for the Anti Corruption Commission Act to have clauses that speak to the indispensable role that the civil society and other interest groups play in the fight against corruption. There is thus a need for the government to guarantee the existence of such groups through opening the space for their work through enabling legislation such as the right to access information from public bodies, taking away restrictive clauses in AIPPA that may hinder information access under the auspices of state secrecy. b) Additionally, laws such as the companies act that regulate the conduct of private companies must also be remodeled so that there is greater access to information in the public domain that may help fight corruption. 
Enhanced role of the Judiciary and Prosecutorial Servicea) The relevant legal statutes must also serve to highlight the role of the judiciary in the fight against crime. More important is the judicial independence from influence by the executive powers. Given that many instances will arise where the government’s departments will come under judicial scrutiny subsequent to investigations from the Anti Corruption Commission, it will be imperative that measures are effected that ensure judicial independence from political malleability. Aside from this, the conditions of work and remuneration should be given priority to lessen the risk of corruption in the undertaking of their duties due to poor working conditions. 
Enhanced clauses governing the public service. a) The Anti Corruption Act should also have clauses that speak to the peculiar role of the public service in the fight against corruption. Specific clauses such as the declaration of assets, declaration of interests, code of conduct and disciplinary procedures ought to be included in the Anti Corruption Act. Whilst some of these clauses may be evident in other pieces of legislation, it is imperative to codify them under one act for clarity and easy reference.

-2- Assessment of Zimbabwe’s Implementation of Chapter II and V of the United Nations Convention against Corruption

In addition to the 2013 Report. ACT-SA with support from the UNCAC Coalition carried out an assessment of Zimbabwe’s implementation of Chapter II and V of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

The Report informed a Statement submitted by the UNCAC Coalition, in accordance with paragraph 1 (i) of resolution 4/6 of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and rule 17, paragraph 3 (b), of the rules of procedure for the Conference. 

 In the report, it was recommended that Zimbabwe:

1. Improves its interaction with CSOs, the independent media and the private sector in the UNCAC review processes and the fight against corruption in general by ensuring that more CSOs, media and private sector players are consulted; 

2. Enacts and implements a law on access to information in line with international best practices, including the establishment of an independent body such as an Information Commissioner to oversee the implementation of the said law; 

3. Increases the financial and human resource capacities of anti-corruption institutions such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to implement their mandates in the most effective, efficient, independent and sustainable manner; 

4. Works to obliterate cases of impunity against corruption, especially cases of corruption involving Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs).

-3- Development of a Tool to Measure Progress Towards the Implementation or Domestication of the SADC Protocol against Corruption, AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the United Nations Convention against Corruption

Inorder to identify domestication gaps, ACT-SA developed a Measuring Tool with assistance from the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme’s online volunteering programme. Download the Tool here.

Refer to the following Publications

Executive Summary: Zimbabwe: Civil Society Report by Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa An input to the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism: Third year of review of UNCAC Chapters II and V


Full Report- Civil Society Report by Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa An input to the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism: Third year of review of UNCAC Chapters II and V


An Assessment on Existing Anti-Corruption Laws, Policies, Practices and Institutional Arrangements in Zimbabwe


Institutional Definition of Corruption