Graft Buster to Start Hiring

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Due to the high number of suspected corruption cases daily flooding the newly established Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the agency is set to start recruiting staff soon. Sitting with a pile of papers on his desk, the Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission Paulus Noa said yesterday a wide range of corruption cases have been reported to the office. He said staff recruitment is expected to start within the next two to three months. “Every day, we are receiving new corruption complaints from all corners and this is posing a great challenge now for us to start the recruitment process,” said Noa, adding that he has also received numerous inquiries for jobs from members of the public. In just a space of three weeks, reports of alleged corruption cases rose from 50 to over 70 so far. These range from bribery in the awarding of tenders, people getting money fraudulently from companies, fraud cases where certain individuals collude to get bank loans, bribery of police officers so that they do not issue traffic tickets, abuse of vehicles by Government officials obtaining illegal licences and the appointment or promotion of people who are relatives to those working in different Government ministries. One such case is that of a Ministry of Works official who allegedly altered job requirements to suit his lower qualifications. Noa said the case has been documented in the ACC files and will receive scrutiny at a later stage, along with the rest of the numerous alleged corruption complaints. Barely three weeks in operation, the ACC has also been taking down witness reports and statements from concerned members of the public on a daily basis. However, while the agency waits to get a fully-fledged staff compliment consisting of highly qualified and experienced personnel, investigations would be undertaken at a later stage before being sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office. “The Commission will consist of three units for the time being, namely one for Investigation, Prevention and Intelligence and another unit for Education,” explained Noa, adding that the number of staff would be determined by the number and demand of corruption complaints that would be received. He added that investigators and other staff to be employed should have some accounting background, police investigation techniques, experience in taxation and basic knowledge of the law. Explaining how the ACC would operate once there is a full team, Noa noted that it would be like a “wide chain network operation” where the commission would have strong links with the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Namibian Police, the Ombudsman, the Government and the general public. “We’ll make recommendations and once investigations are complete, we will send the cases to the Prosecutor General who has the power to prosecute according to the Constitution,” he explained. At the same time, certain companies would also be identified by the ACC in specialised fields like auditing and forensics for serious corruption cases where some investigators could be outsourced or contracted. So far, the public has reacted positively to the ACC and several companies have visited the offices lately to express their commitment. Among them are PricewaterhouseCoopers, while Women’s Action for Development (WAD) will pay a courtesy call on the ACC tomorrow.