ACC Handles 1 600 Cases

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has received 1ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 635 complaints since it was established in February last year. The commission is investigating 20 percent of the cases, according to ACC Director, Paulus Noa. He said the cases are at different stages of investigation. Some have been handed over for prosecution while a large number have been referred to institutions to investigate and rectify. Noa said the ACC decided to refer back about 100 of the cases deemed administrative complaints for relevant institutions to follow up and rectify. He said the matters could mature into corruption cases. Noa was speaking during the commemoration of the International Day Against Corruption, officially launched by President Hifikepunye Pohamba yesterday. Pohamba called on the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Prime Minister’ Office to ensure that all Government institutions stamp out corrupt activities at all cost. Pohamba said offices, ministries and agencies should prevent corruption, implement the Public Service Charter principles and improve service delivery and enhance good governance. “We will not rest until corruption is uprooted from both public and private sectors. We will not rest until we win the fight against corruption. We will continue to fight with an iron fist,” he said to Government officials, foreign mission representatives and civil society representatives gathered to commemorate the International Day Against Corruption. He also called for the strengthening of the capa-city of institutions such as the ACC for them to carry out their functions effectively and efficiently, without fear or favour and with no interference. The day was yesterday celebrated for the first time since Namibia became party to the UN Convention Against Corruption in 2004. It falls within Namibia’s Anti-Corruption Week that started on Monday and ends tomorrow. The theme for the commemoration was “Join the fight against corruption”. Pohamba called on all Namibian citizens to help fight corruption, saying it is not the duty of the ACC alone, but “the responsibility rests on all of us”. Several speakers at the event underlined the dangers of corruption as an enemy of society, because it increases the cost of doing business, shrinks profit margins, makes economies less competitive, undermines public institutions, leads to misappropriation of resources and goods and services meant for the people, as well as scare away investors. The President said there seems to be a misconception that corruption refers to Government institutions only, yet the commission is there for all. “Most of the corrupt practices are perpetuated by members of the private sector when they need services. They go to the Ministry of Home Affairs and present their papers and say there is an added page,” he said to laughter from the crowd. Chief Executive Officer of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tarah Shaanika, said although people think of corruption as being big schemes only, smaller and insignificant versions of corruption also amount to substantial losses. These include misuse of Government vehicles after hours on private and unauthorised trips, doing private work during office hours, receiving financial benefits in exchange for favours from Government officials, cheating in public examinations and evading tax.