The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) has admitted that some State prosecutors in Zimbabwean courts take bribes, saying it is so because of low salaries and poor working conditions.
The NPA’s admission comes at a time when cases of dangerous criminals being given bail for offenses like armed robbery and murder, are on the rise.
During the launch of the Transparency International 2022 Corruption Perception Index, Chief public prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare, urged government to improve the working conditions of prosecutors, to avoid the temptation of taking bribes. He said:
There is a need to capacitate anti-corruption institutions materially and in terms of human resources.
As I said earlier, you find out that most of the civil servants are remunerated poorly. Most of them are lodgers, they do not own houses. For the NPA it is not desirable to be a lodger. Imagine a prosecutor being a tenant; he may be a tenant at a criminal’s house. The criminal is arrested then goes to court; the prosecutor will be incapacitated to deal with the case because they are being housed by that criminal. If they are properly remunerated and well-resourced you will find that they will be cushioned and will not be susceptible to corruption.
As long as people are suffering and a bribe is offered, it’s very difficult for them to resist. It also goes back to the issue of brain drain that I was talking about. If they are well remunerated, they will not even think about resigning.
While the President Emmerson Mnangagwa-led government has a zero tolerance to corruption policy, several cases involving high profile people have died a natural death in Zimbabwean courts.