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LETTER: Focused anti-graft agency needed

The essence of political will is to ensure insulation from political interference

23 March 2021 – 10:00 https://spkt.io/e/1692847

My thinking on the issue of fighting corruption is in sync with that of Paul Hoffman of Accountability Now (“Criminal justice reform lacks political will”, March 22). Real commitment goes beyond the spoken word and should manifest itself in action 

A single agency constitutionally established (its independence protected by the constitution) and empowered by legislation to both investigate and prosecute corruption cases can go a long way in combating corruption.

The essence of political will is to ensure insulation from political interference, which in itself should be criminalised. Such independence of an anticorruption agency does not mean absence of accountability, but the agency should account to parliament for its core mandate and not to the executive. Connection with the executive should be limited to matters of budget appropriation and financial oversight.

There is a case for a single agency dedicated to uprooting corruption that will collaborate with other law enforcement agencies. Its urgent task would be to cleanse the criminal justice sector of corruption. The government needs to fully implement the Glenister 2 & 3 judgments and then follow the “Stirs” principles of specialisation, training, independence, resources and security of tenure, which should be the hallmark of such an agency.

Such an agency will be a multidisciplinary one in terms of skills such as digital forensic other financial and IT forensic skills that are not easily available in the public sector.

Vusi Pikoli
Via e-mail

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