A glut of Covid-19 related cases is expected to jam the works at the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) which is already snowed under a pile of pending corruption dockets dating as far back as during former President Festus Mogae’s tenure.
The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director General, Tymon Katlholo, has revealed that the graft buster has already registered 69 Covid-19 corruption related cases.
He told the Parliamentary Committee in governance and oversight that the advent of Covid-19, coupled with the fact that the Directorate is lagging behind digitization, stretches the already limited resources even further.
“The DCEC received 69 Covid 19 corruption allegation reports from April 2020 to May 2021,” said Katlholo.
The DCEC has seven investigation teams countrywide. The strategy assumes that there will be one prosecution case submitted to DPP each month by each team which will give a total of 84 cases per annum and 21 cases per quarter. The intention is that of the 21 cases per quarter there should be at least 3 cases of national interest submitted.
Katlholo further stated that currently there are 182 cases pending with the DPP; 86 of such cases have been pending for 0-5 years, 58 cases 5-10years, 38 cases 10-18 years. He added that there was need to improve on the value chain in the disposal of cases.
“Directorate was given less of the posts it requested to cater for its expanded needs owing to issues of FATF/ESAAMLG and UNODC,” he said.
He revealed that currently there are 1286 active investigations out of which 182 cases are with DPP and 116 are before the courts. 441 cases could not disclose sufficient evidence to warrant prosecution. 727 of the active investigations relate to alleged corrupt allocation of plots.
Katlholo believes that the fight against corruption can be effective and key to promoting good governance if only the agency mandated to do so is made to be accountable and independent from any form of interference. He is of the view that to achieve that, it needs the political support and political will from all the spheres of power to ensure its independence. He added that such political will and support is anchored through that the laws must give the Agency extensive powers to investigate and that there must be effective enforcement.
“Corruption generally undermines good governance, social devotement and the rule of law,” said Katlholo.
The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has attributed their underperformance to budgetary constraints.
At least 70 percent of the recurrent budget goes towards personnel emoluments. The Directorate revealed that it is currently operating on a recurrent budget of P138,038,570.00 and a development budget of P42, 5 million for the 2021/22 financial year.