Zimbabwe’s Deputy Finance Minister, Terrence Mukupe, stunned guests during a round-table discussion in Harare, that nation’s capital, when he said corruption could be positive for the country.
The Deputy Finance Minister referenced an article which he read highlighting that the scourge of corruption would benefit the country.
“I read an article to the effect that corruption can be also positive for the country. After going through that article, I can actually give you some life lessons I had. I remember when I was advisor to ESSAR (An Indian company that wanted to invest in Ziscosteel) and ESSAR wanted to come into Zimbabwe, someone approached me and said the fundamental mistake you are making with ESSAR is that you don’t have a local partner.
“Make sure that you have a local partner if your things are going to work well. And I remember the Indian investor said to me; but the government is my partner and I would like to believe that everything would work well.
“And the response that this guy made was that government is not a person and it does not eat, it does not breath, it is not motivated to make the transaction work well. So by you giving away part of your transaction to someone else, that person is going to make sure that they wake up every day because they are motivated to make sure that the transaction works. So that is a case of positive corruption,” New Zimbabwe quoted him as saying.
Mukupe said at one point, a minister in former President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet, who was accused of massive corruption, turned out to be the one who contributed more than any other person to the national purse.
“So how do you then explain that? So I guess it’s an issue that if we were to assume that he was corrupt, then I guess his goals were aligned with the goals of government and everything else was moving on well and it became positive corruption for the country,” he said.
Mukupe said legislation could only do so much to address the issue of corruption as it was deep-rooted in the society whose moral fibre had decayed so much that people were now normalizing the abnormal.
“It’s the moral fibre of our society and what I always say is that as Zimbabweans we are generally corrupt people and the reason why I say we are generally a corrupt people is that if we were to do a quick survey privately, anonymously in this room here probably over 90 percent of the people here have bribed some police officer sometime,” he said.
Mukupe was recently accused of assaulting a senior accounts officer in the ministry of finance for giving him what he thought was small travel allowance.