Noa Wants Year of Action

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK With the imminent appointment of 10 new investigating officers this month, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is well on its way to seriously and effectively rooting out corruption in 2007. In an interview with New Era on Friday, director of the anti-graft body Paulus Noa said that last month the agency was busy recruiting new staff and has now forwarded recommendations to the Public Service Commission of Namibia (PSC) for approval. Noa said the green light on these recommendations is expected any time during the course of this week as the matter is now in the hands of the PSC. As a result, Noa is confident that the agency will apply a more hands-on approach to root out corruption this year. “I am very optimistic this year as work will be done very effectively, efficiently and completely. With a full staff complement, we are very serious about attending to any complaints coming to our office this year,” said Noa. It is anticipated that by today (15 January 2007) the PSC will consider submissions made by the ACC on the recruitment of the investigating officers. Although Noa did not feel it was appropriate to disclose the names of candidates on the submitted list to the PSC at the time (since it is the prerogative of the PSC to decide at the end of the day) it is speculated that retired top policemen were also interviewed for the advertised positions last year. “I hope they will be there because we need qualified people in the commission to carry out our investigations,” he added. With over 600 cases reported to the commission since its inception in February last year, the number of reports is growing on a daily basis. So far, the reported files of cases stacked up in the offices range from bribery in awarding tenders, bribery of police officers by the public in issuing traffic tickets, abuse of public vehicles by government officials, obtaining illegal licences, and the appointment or promotion of people who are relatives to those working in respective government ministries. As a result, more qualified and specialised staff like those carefully selected investigating officers are needed to deal with the numerous and ever-growing corruption cases reported to the commission. “I want this to be a year of effective action. No more explanations that are not reasonably sound to the public. “Our new year plans are therefore to attend to all the complaints that are piling up now and at the same time put pressure on the relevant offices concerned to act accordingly against corruption,” explained Noa. At the moment, the commission has several police officers from the Namibian Police who are attached to it to carry out investigations and effect the arrests of those thought to be on the wrong side of the law when it comes to corruption. However, with only about six to seven staff in its human resources department, more qualified and permanent officials are needed, hence the imminent appointment of 10 investigating officers is timely. Another development is that the Office of the Prime Minister also approved a new staff complement for the commission in June last year. At the time it was envisaged that there would be a unit for investigating officials, and other units for prosecution, intelligence, an education campaign, corruption prevention and supporting staff.

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