Anti-Graft Agents Eager to Roll

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The newly appointed Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Paulus Noa says his agency is determined to root out corruption. The director and his deputy have just started settling down in temporary offices at the Frans Indongo Gardens in the capital. They will be sworn into office by President Hifikepunye Pohamba later this month. Speaking to New Era recently, Noa said his office would remain steadfast and stick to the agenda of busting corruption. “We will not leave any stone unturned, because as soon as we start working our social responsibility will be to stamp out corruption,” stressed Noa. He added that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is of crucial importance to the country because “there will be no economic growth if corruption exists”. Prime Minister Nahas Angula said in a local daily recently that setting up the ACC is one of Government’s efforts to promote transparency. “Corruption did not start now, but the uncovering of corrupt activities … can go down in history as one of the issues which have been unravelled, which is good,” the Premier was quoted as saying. In view of this, the ACC hopes to provide a platform for people to whistleblow on corrupt practices and institutions, for the first time in the history of the country. In the meantime and before the official inauguration of the ACC, Noa and his deputy Erna van der Merwe are beginning to settle down. As a temporary measure, the ACC has secured accommodation at the Frans Indongo Gardens just adjacent to the Central Governance Agency. However plans are in place for the body to be relocated to a more permanent site once commissioning by the Head of State gets underway later this month. “We still don’t have any staff, but as soon as we set up offices, we should have all the administrative logistics in place,” said Noa. With a budget of N$2,5 million and more in the new coming budget, the director is positive that investigating and rooting out corruption will receive the highest priority. “We are planning that as soon as we are commissioned, we will start recruiting competent investigators that will crack down on corruption and not take any chances,” said Noa. In addition, consideration has also been given for the director and his deputy to solicit advice from neighbouring countries like South Africa and Botswana, where such institutions are operating efficiently. “We will look at how our counterparts dealt with setting up the necessary structures and how they have managed to overcome their challenges,” he added. The ACC Act was passed in 2003. It became law only in March last year. The appointment of Noa and Van der Merwe was effected last year and endorsed by Parliament in October.