THE conduct of directors within corporates will now be under intense scrutiny following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe (IoD) recently.
Through the MOU, the two parties mapped a strategy to deal with flouting of corporate governance principles creating loopholes for corruption in entities.
A technical committee made up of members from ZACC and IoD will be tasked with an oversight role to co-ordinate and facilitate work within the partnership.
IoD chairperson, Dr Mike Juru, said key corporate governance principles which were being flouted included accountability, transparency, conflict of interest rising from failure to declare and recuse oneself among other factors.
He said some directors lacked training upon being appointed and also assumed posts through unprofessional means.
As such, the aim of their partnership with ZACC was to flush out such misconduct through building strong systems, structures and monitoring compliance to prevent corruption.
“Where entities have strong systems you find that corrupt individuals are eliminated at the point of entry,” he said.
There is a structured training and syllabus for individuals who intend to assume posts of directors.
Said Dr Juru; “Directors who have been found wanting statistically we find that they have not been trained.
“We want our members to operate from a position of knowledge between right and wrong, knowing also how to do things right the first time. As such we as IoD are trainers and ZACC will assist in monitoring compliance of laws.”
There is general concern about the serious threats posed by corruption to security and stability of societies, undermining institutions, ethical values and justice as well as jeopardising sustainable development, social and economic prosperity.
While other institutions and professions like doctors, lawyers, real estate agents and valuers are regulated, it is not so for directors.
Dr Juru said if directors were regulated they would be more accountable as does other professions.
“Right now they have nothing to lose. If they are blacklisted by a regulatory authority people will respect the institution of directorship. It should be carrying the weight that it deserves,” he said.
As such, the MoU seeks to promote the establishment of information that upholds honesty, accountability and transparency in public and private organisations.
ZACC spokesperson, Commissioner, Mr John Makamure, said the MOU is intended to formally collaborate in strengthening corporate governance systems in both the public and private sectors.
“There is a positive correlation between poor corporate governance and high levels of corruption.
“Key good corporate governance principles of transparency and accountability are critical in preventing and combating corruption.
“We are going to join hands with IoD in mounting training programmes and reviewing systems in public and private entities,” Comm Makamure said.
Terms of the partnership include training on corporate governance to facilitate secure and rapid exchange of information that curbs corruption tendencies across both private and public sectors.