By Charles Tjatindi
Government officials involving themselves in corrupt practices have been warned to stop doing so, or be prepared to face the wrath of the law.
The stern warning was issued by the Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Paulus Noa, during a sensitization seminar on corruption here.
Noa noted that government officials are placed in their positions due to the trust put in them by their subordinates and the general public, and should therefore uphold such commitments.
The director cited various acts that constitute corruption, most of which according to him have been overlooked by many people. He urged those present to report any forms of abuse of government property, either through unauthorized trips with GRN vehicles, or through fraudulent subsistence and travel (S&T) allowance claims.
“Some people have a habit of having a GRN vehicle or any other official vehicle after hours and on weekends without authorization. These cars are seen parked at cuca shops, and used on other private missions. We see these things … be warned, such practices constitute corruption, and you will therefore be brought to book,” said Noa.
As an example, Noa noted that some senior government employees and office-bearers submit claims for S&T when attending political rallies, which according to him is outside their official mandates. It does not stop there, said Noa, adding that these officials would then have a trip request authorized, which makes them eligible for accommodation and meals on state expense.
Noa noted that his office is aware of office-bearers that use their powers to gain access to official vehicles for private funeral missions, calling on those guilty of such practices to refrain from doing so.
“When you go to a funeral in a far remote village, you find a convoy of GRN vehicles parked there, carrying passengers. This is corruption in its highest form as these funerals are ones of private individuals and not declared state funerals. Please stop such acts,” he appealed.
Noa said the fight against graft requires the intervention of everyone, as its effects are felt by everyone, with the poor and marginalized incurring the largest losses through poor service delivery and the absence of some vital public services.
The Anti-Corruption Commission is an independent and impartial agency established under section 2(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2003 (Act No.8 of 2003),with a statutory mandate to fight corruption.
The Act came into force on April 15, 2005. It was only in February 2006 however that the commission became fully operational. Since then, it has been executing its mandate of enforcing the Anti-Corruption Act and preventing corruption.
The one-day seminar was conducted as part of the ACC’s efforts to enhance public access to accurate, relevant and up-to-date information on what constitutes corruption. Another objective of the workshop was to build the capacity of public officials regarding corruption awareness campaigns, thereby strengthening a national integrity system.
Senior government officials, law enforcement agencies and local municipal council employees attended the one-day gathering.