The government of Zimbabwe says it will set up economic crimes courts in four provincial towns as well as Harare, the capital, to crack down on corruption.
The courts will work closely with the Anti-Corruption Commission in an effort to curb fraud, graft and other forms of corruption, according to an economic blueprint issued last week by Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
"The support for the anti-corruption drive will include introduction of programs for witness protection and the establishment of Economic Crimes Courts," says the macro-economic plan. The document also says schools will introduce ethics and anti-corruption lessons into the curriculum by 2012 to boost awareness.
Decentralized anti-corruption offices are envisioned in Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo. President Robert Mugabe mooted economic crimes courts in 2003, but the proposal was never implemented.
Transparency International ranked Zimbabwe the 11th most corrupt nation in its 2009 Global Corruption Index, and the second most corrupt in the Southern African sub-region after the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that economic crimes courts are needed, but he warned of the danger of such powers being misused to achieve political objectives.