ZAECA vows to intensify fight against sextortion

ZANZIBAR: ZANZIBAR Anti-corruption and Economic Crime Authority (ZAECA) has vowed to intensify the fight against corruption.

According to ZAECA, the anti-graft campaign will target all entities including authorities that abuse their powers to obtain sexual favour.

This was said by ZAECA officials during a meeting with women rights activists in Zanzibar under the umbrella of Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA), and the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA)- Zanzibar.

“We now have a better law after recent improvement in the House of Representatives which was approved by President Husein Mwinyi. We have been empowered to investigate all forms of corruption, including sextortion,” Mr Bakar Hassan, the Director of Prevention, ZAECA, said.

Sextortion is a form of corruption and gender-based violence, and it occurs when a person with entrusted authority abuses this authority to obtain a sexual favour in exchange for a service or benefit which is within their power to grant or withhold.

Mr Bakar pointed out that ZAECA Act No. 5 of 2023, sections 50-52 mention different kinds of corruption include soliciting or offering sexual favours, and that if guilty,the offender can face imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years but not more than ten years with a fine of not less than 15m/- but not more than 20m/.”

He said that they will also carry out surveillance and investigate sex corruption within the government and non-governmental institutions, and provide adequate protection for witnesses and whistleblowers, who will help in reporting such offences to the agency.

He further emphasised that ZAECA is committed to providing education to ensure awareness of the improved law, among citizens so that they are free to report all suspicious corruption practices including demand for sex for  a job or services.

The director informed the women rights’ activists that the authority has significant powers to handle such cases with utmost confidentiality.

He also said the new law imposes penalties on officials who violate ethical standards in the course of their duties.

He stressed the importance of public understanding and avoidance of such offences, as they deprive individuals, especially those in vulnerable positions of their rights to employment, promotions and other entitlements.

“Public awareness is still needed, and the task of curbing these acts of corruption, including sexual corruption, is not solely ZAECA’s responsibility, but requires the participation of every institution, and individual, given that prevention is better than cure,” he added.

Dr Mzuri Issa, Director of TAMWA-Zanzibar, at the meeting, highlighted the significant challenges faced by women and girls in achieving their development aspirations, including sexual corruption, without specific recourse.

She noted that the introduction of the new ZAECA law would open a new chapter in the fight against corruption, particularly sextortion in public offices, private institutions and political workplaces, especially as the country prepares for the 2025 general elections.

Ms Jamila Mahmoud, Director, ZAFELA, emphasised the importance of providing education on sextortion, starting from the grassroots level, including schools.

“It is crucial to understand the consequences and any incidents should be reported promptly to the relevant authorities for appropriate action against the perpetrators.”

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