By Catherine Sasman
Investigation into the missing ODC N$100 million has been completed within the borders of Namibia, but more needs to be done to track the movement of the money in foreign accounts, reported Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Paulus Noa, at a public forum on the workings of the commission last week.
He said the missing money has been moved from accounts in South Africa, the US, Switzerland, and other countries, and that this has hampered ACC investigations.
“Because international law is applicable here, it depends on the attitude of other countries [to follow up speedily on the missing millions],” responded Noa to a question put to him at the panel discussion.
He said the ACC has also recently attained a statement from someone living in Kigali, Rwanda, who had been a managing director in Namibia at the time the money got lost, and that the commission had further prepared a document to launch an application in South Africa in an attempt to forfeit properties bought in that country presumably with the missing N$100 million.
“Properties were bought. They are known (to the ACC) and the people associated with them are known, and we need to round them up,” said Noa at the public lecture, ‘Join the Fight’, organised jointly by the Namibia Institute for Democracy and the ACC.
He, however, said more evidence is required as proof “beyond reasonable doubt” against the perpetrators.
Speaking from the same platform, Auditor General, Junias Kandjeke, said his department is committed to contain corruption, and encouraged Government entities to strengthen their internal control systems.
“Everyone in Namibia can join the fight [against corruption] and report corrupt practices,” said Kandjeke, arguing that both big and small incidents of corruption are relevant in the battle.
Representing a civil society organisation, the Citizens for an Accountable and Transparent Society (CATS), Carola Engelbrecht, said it is only the ruling party that can create an enabling environment for everyone to refrain from and root out corruption. CATS was born out of concern over the slow pace at which the ACC is making progress with perceived high-profile corruption.
She said the Founding President, Sam Nujoma, and incumbent, President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s unwillingness to make public reports of a number of Presidential Commissions of Enquiry is worrying.
“Namibians fail to grasp the irreconcilable decisions to on the one hand declare war on corruption, constitute commissions of enquiry and then put the results and recommendations away to gather dust,” said Engelbrecht.
She said to stamp out corruption, there should be more “convincing action” from the ACC on already received high profile complaints.
Engelbrecht said that the proposed Basic Income Grant would not alleviate poverty in the country, but instead an aggressive plan of action to stop corrupt individuals and the recovery of misappropriated funds and the termination of “corrupt contracts and deals”.
“It is of utmost importance and urgency that perpetrators are publicly seen to lose a whole lot because of their corrupt practices in order for corruption to become unprofitable and not worth pursuing. Up to now, this has not happened,” said Engelbrecht.