No-One Will Be Spared – Noa

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Participation in the liberation struggle and having a place in high society is no licence for any individual to engage in corrupt activities, says the Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission, (ACC) Paulus Noa. The director yesterday revealed that some members of society, especially those who fought for the liberation of Namibia, are of the opinion that they cannot be “touched” even when they commit crime. “It does not matter if a person participated in the liberation struggle or not. No one will be spared in investigations,” he warned. He added that his commission will not compromise its responsibilities and no matter how socially recognized an individual is, as long as they commit what could be regarded as corruption, they will be brought to book. “People should not politicize the work of the Anti-Corruption Commission. We will act where there is evidence,” he said. One of the strategies that the Commission has embarked upon is to establish a working relationship with other stakeholders in order to successfully raise awareness about the need to participate fully in the fight against corruption. Noa added that civil society organizations are important vehicles for the dissemination of information due to their contact with the members of the communities. “The fight against corruption should not be left to the Anti-Corruption Commission only. All of us need to take part in awareness campaigns on the detrimental effects of corruption. The poor and the marginalized are always the immediate victims of corruption,” he said. Last week, Pohamba expressed satisfaction with the work the commission has done so far. The commission had its first arrest in June 2006 when an employee of the People Primary School in Katutura was taken in on charges of theft and forgery. The school secretary, 32-year-old Prisca Auchas, faced two charges of forgery and theft of public funds to the tune of N$10 220. During the second month, a second suspected fraudster Toivo Munenguni, who works for the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s Rural Water Supply Directorate, was arrested after it was discovered that he allegedly took money from villagers under false pretences. The suspect allegedly promised to make water connections to their homesteads against payment. Munenguni’s arrest came after he made connections to the wrong people, instead of the ones who applied for connections. Investigations revealed that three people were swindled by the suspect in the amounts of N$1 400, N$1 200 and N$1 000. The latest incident occurred last month. It involved a former television presenter and current Deputy Director of Wildlife Management, Sackey Namugongo, who was arrested on charges of fraud running into hundreds of thousands of dollars. He allegedly sold fake gambling licences to individuals. The gambling licences were sold for amounts ranging from N$25 000 to N$30 000 and N$40 000 and his clients included cuca shop owners. Despite the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) having struck swiftly and firmly in these corruption cases, some Namibians are less impressed with the bounty hunts, saying that the commission should also pounce on the big fish involved in cases such as Avid, ODC and the Ministry of Defence’s bogus arms deal, among others.