By Staff Reporters
In an operation code-named Operation Spiderweb, the Namibian Police, City Police and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), swooped on unsuspecting Government officials who were using State vehicles over the weekend.
The operation was conducted between Friday and Sunday.
The operation netted 22 civil servants for abusing State resources. The perpetrators were charged with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, Act 8 of 2003.
Some of the drivers appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court. Most of the drivers arrested were not authorised to drive the vehicles, while two cases of driving Government vehicles under the influence of alcohol were also registered.
Twelve of the suspects appeared before the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
Bennett Kangumu (34), Maazu Zauana (49), Silas Fillemon (46), Josef Hango (37) Immanuel Waendama (39), George Mabakeng (38), Titus Shigwedha Iyambo (50), Jacobus Uirab (57), Conrad Hamutenya Haikera (46), Cornelius Shilongo (42), Ernst Kessler (35) and Hans Ashipala appeared in Court A of the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court.
Those that did not appear in court include Johannes Schutte (55), Nangombe Shambekela (37), Modestus Senalye (30), Jacob Amupembe (41), Manuel Kaboy (38), Boetie Hambira (31), David Eenana (26), Fillemon Shivute (40), Asser Kangootui (50), Naftali Ananias (47) and Loius Jermanus (32).
The impounded vehicles belong to ministries of Education (3), Safety and Security – police (4), Works and Transport (2), Namibian Defence Force (4), Trade and Industry (1), Health and Social Services (1), Information and Technology (2), National Planning Commission (1), Home Affairs (1), Finance (2) and Safety and Security – Prisons (1).
The accused mainly used the vehicles for transporting children, taking trips without authority and shopping. Some were carrying unauthorised passengers, others were charged with drunk driving.
Minister of Safety and Security, Nickey Iyambo, who was also at court to witness the appearance of the accused, said 22 Government vehicles were impounded during the weekend in different parts of the country.
The vehicles, he added, were being driven by Government officials either without authorisation or under the influence of alcohol.
For years, the public has bemoaned the abuse of Government property by those entrusted to serve the people.
“Public complaints have been justified and the police are doing their job,” the minister commented.
Director of the ACC, Paulus Noa, during a press conference yesterday afternoon, issued a stern warning to public service employees that the ACC will not turn a blind eye on those misusing State resources, regardless of position or status.
“The ACC has been inundated with complaints about the unacceptable escalation of misuse of public property especially Government vehicles,” announced Noa. “It is high time that they are seriously taken to task – whoever misuses a Government vehicle.”
The Acc also netted one of its own – Noa’s driver – who had been driving a vehicle allocated to ACC by the police. The driver had unauthorised passengers on board.
Noa revealed that so far no officials or ministries have come forward to reclaim the vehicles, which are still parked at various police impound docks in Windhoek.
“This operation will be consistent, and it will soon spread to other parts of the country.” Noa was unable to say when, however, for fear of alerting would-be criminals.
In total some 229 Government vehicles were stopped. The operation was only confined to Windhoek.