Corruption was widespread in Swaziland / eSwatini during 2018, a new report on human rights abuses in the kingdom reveals.
The United States Department of State reported, ‘there was a widespread public perception of corruption in the executive and legislative branches of government and a consensus that the government did little to combat it’.
The annual report on human rights stated, ‘There were widespread reports of immigration and customs officials seeking bribes to issue government documents such as visas and resident permits. In March police raided the Department of Immigration, where they confiscated files and arrested and charged two senior immigration officers. The government filed charges against one of the senior officers based on allegations she had processed applications for travel documents for foreign nationals who were not present in, and had never visited, the country.’
It added, ‘Credible reports continued that a person’s relationship with government officials influenced the awarding of government 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.’
This is not the first report on corruption in Swaziland issued this year. In January 2019 Transparency International scored the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III as an absolute monarch, 38 out of a possible 100 in its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018. In this scale zero is ‘highly corrupt’ and 100 is ‘very clean’. The index ranks countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople.
In November 2018 national police Deputy Commissioner Mumcy Dlamini told an event for International Fraud Awareness Week Swaziland lost E30 million from the economy because of banking fraud alone during the previous year.
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.’
It added, ‘For a long time the police, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade as well as the Department of Customs and Excise have often been implicated in corrupt practices.’
It gave many examples including the case of the government propaganda organisation Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Service (SBIS) where E 1.6 million was paid to service providers for the maintenance of a machine that was neither broken nor in use. The officer who authorised the bogus job cards has since been promoted and transferred to another government department.
The report called The effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies in Southern Africa stated, ‘This type of behaviour is common albeit covert and therefore difficult to monitor as goods and services are undersupplied or rerouted for personal use. 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.’
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