Graft Agency Should Target Big Fish

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Despite the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) having struck swiftly and firmly on recent corruption cases, some Namibians are less impressed with the bounty hunts. Thus far, the ACC has acted in two separate cases involving low-ranking civil servants over alleged misappropriation of funds meant for other purposes. However, some Namibians are not impressed with the recent antics of the commission labelling it as a “mere face pleasing exercise”. The ACC recently acted against school secretary Prisca Auchas and government worker Toivo Munen-guni, on charges of fraud, theft and forgery. Some members of the public want the commission to focus on the big wigs involved in the disappearance of tens of millions of dollars from the Offshore Development Cooperation (ODC), Social Security Commission (SSC), Roads Authority (RA), Namibia Liquid Fuels, rather than targeting “petty” crimes. ” What is N$1000, or N$1 200, or N$1 400 or even N$10 000 while you have people playing with millions, hundred millions that is not even known where it is till today,” said one man. “They must target the big guns, those people in top positions wasting public funds, because now they are just wasting time,” another suggested. It becomes apparent that since the corruption-busting agency started pouncing on the so-called “small fraudsters”, it is widely believed the ACC does not have the teeth to catch the so-called big fish. “This is just some kind of window-dressing,” said another man who preferred anonymity. Concern is rife that there seems to be no action being taken against the big fish. However, in response to these mounting concerns, ACC Director Paulus Noa said every single case, whether it is big or small, is getting the attention it deserves. ” It’s not a question of big or small fish, it’s a question of investigating and these investigations are ongoing as long as we can find the evidence …” said Noa. According to the ACC policy, there is no discrimination when it comes to investigating alleged corruption cases and every case is being dealt with equally. “I have heard about these remarks already, but I will say we do have the guts to investigate,” he lamented. Recently, Noa publicly admitted that the commission is investigating Namibia Liquid Fuels. He revealed that investigations into the ODC case were started by the police even before the commission was set up at the beginning of this year. He was optimistic that the investigation into the ODC case would be completed soon. “Very soon, we may reach its final stage.” Early this month, the director personally requested the President’s Office to release reports on the commission of inquiries on the SSC and Roads Authority debacles. It is anticipated that these documents will be made available to the director soon. People should bear in mind that “corruption is corruption, whether big or small cases” ,and the director feels that thorough investigations are currently being done to come up with proper evidence and to prosecute corruption perpetrators. In light of this, he is urging members of the public to continue reporting alleged corruption cases to his ACC office as this would aid the fight against corruption.