Lack of technology hampers anti-graft fight: Zacc

THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) on Monday said lack of technological skills and equipment was hampering efforts to fight graft.

Addressing a five-day Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) cybercrime training workshop in Harare, Zacc deputy chairperson Kuziva Murapa said law enforcement agencies needed to be equipped with skills to gather forensic evidence.

“The 21st century has seen an increase in globalisation and technological advancement and with it increased cybercrimes.  In the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has also transformed the way we work, love and communicate. Unfortunately, this has led to an increase in the use of cyberspace and with it, an increase in cybercrimes,” Murapa said.

“While advanced digital technology is now available to investigators to help them uncover and prosecute corruption across Africa, the fight against corruption is being hampered by the lack of technological skills in law enforcement agencies, lack of adequate legislation and fragmented or basic information at State level,” he  said.

The Zacc boss said there was need to bring corruption perpetrators to book, adding that government also needed to consider improving skills of law enforcement agencies in the technological age.

Murapa said dealing with cybercrime needed strengthening of policies and coming up with strategies that allow law enforcement agencies to access information within a reasonable time to prevent illicit financial flows.

“Technology can improve governance by providing a mechanism to highlight suspicious entities that may be committing tender fraud across multiple departments.”

Murapa said reducing the cost of digital forensic investigations was important because if the cost of access to information remains high, it would be difficult to access.

He urged the government to improve transparency in tender processes.

“While tender processes are designed to create competition among service providers, to prevent corruption and ensure governments get the best value for money, these public procurement systems also represent an opportunity for fraudsters and corrupt officials to access State funds under the disguise of legitimacy.

“A lack of transparency in the tender process has driven up corruption, not only discouraging the much-needed investments, but creating an unequal playing field which prevents local small businesses from growing.” Newsday.

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