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Swaziland - Corruption

Corruption is widespread, and although investigations are frequently reported, little is heard thereafter. Corruption is believed to be widespread in Swaziland. In December 2017, Swaziland's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) issued a report suggesting that 79 percent of 3,090 people interviewed in a survey believed that corruption within government was 'rife'. The survey suggested that corruption was perceived to take place mostly in rural councils. The perceived major causes of corruption were poverty (58 percent), unemployment (54 percent) and greed (41 percent). The survey was conducted by the Swazi Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs through the ACC.

In June 2017, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) reported the kingdom, was riddled with corruption in both private and public places. It said, 'The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state.'

The Minister of Finance said a private consultant's report estimates 6 million USD (40 million emalengeni) of potential government revenue is lost each month due to corruption. The Minister believes much of this is lost tax revenues due to goods smuggled into and through Swaziland.

School principals and teachers routinely demanded bribes to admit students, and immigration and customs officials did so to issue government documents. They also committed fraud. For example, in October 2016 the Swazi Observer reported that a teacher forged a school heads signature to steal funds from the schools bank account.

Credible reports continued that a persons relationship with government officials influenced the awarding of government road construction and other contracts; the appointment, employment, and promotion of officials; recruitment into the security services; and school admissions. Authorities rarely took action on reported incidents of nepotism.

Swaziland passed the Prevention of Corruption Act in 2007 which established the Anti-Corruption Commission. The Swaziland Public Procurement Act became law in 2010. The Swaziland Public Procurement Agency (SPPRA) was established in 2012. The SPPRA will oversee public purchasing and set up a code of conduct for public sector procurement officers to track all public funds not only for procurement but any other contractual agreement for goods, works, or services. Civil society organizations accuse Swaziland's Anti-Corruption Commission of engaging in politically motivated investigations and failing to tackle genuine issues of corruption. The Act disqualifies public sector workers and politicians from supplying the government.

SPPRA conducted capacity building exercises nationwide to increase knowledge and adoption of universally practiced purchasing systems with private companies. According to section 27 of the Public Procurement Regulations, suppliers are prohibited from offering gifts or hospitality, directly or indirectly, to staff of a procuring entity, members of the tender board, and members of the SPPRA.

The Anticorruption Commission (ACC), funded by the Ministry of Justice, is charged with fighting corruption and conducting education and prevention programs. The ACC has the power to investigate cases, gather evidence, and arrest individuals for failure to respond to ACC requests. The ACC conceded it made little progress in curbing corruption and fulfilling its mandate because of insufficient funding. Central Bank Governor Majozi Sithole stated corruption continued to be prevalent and resulted in a monthly loss estimated at 80 million emalangeni ($5.4 million) in potential government revenue.

In prevention and education efforts, the ACC conducted dozens of sensitization workshops and meetings around the country, provided educational materials for schools, and made presentations on numerous radio and television shows. ACC representatives acknowledged a widespread public perception the ACC was ineffective and asserted that the commission--established in 2008--remained in startup mode largely because of a lack of financial and human resources and the general backlog of cases in the court system.

Only the large multi-national companies in the country have internal controls and compliance programs. Swaziland is a signatory to the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and Related Offences and the SADC Protocol against Corruption. Only the Anti-Corruption Commission is legally allowed to investigate corruption.

Corruption is particularly prevalent in government procurement. The Swazi government set up the SPPRA to provide regulation and control practices with respect to public procurement. Giving or receiving a bribe is illegal. A convicted person faces a maximum of a 100,000 emalangeni (USD 10,000.00) fine or ten years imprisonment. A convicted law enforcement officer or public prosecutor faces a maximum fine of 200,000 emalangeni (USD 20,000). Foreign and domestic businesses have indicated that corruption and bribery requests impact profits, contracts, and investment decisions for their companies.

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Page last modified: 01-10-2018 11:50:16 ZULU