By Anna Ingwafa
THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) held a workshop last week in the Oshana Region with the aim to discuss what increasingly has become a threat to good governance and the development of democratic institutions.
Addressing the workshop, the ACC Director Paulus Noa said Namibia is no exception to the threat of corruption.
He appealed to all citizens and civil society organisations to join hands in the fight against corruption.
“Something to be realized is that corruption has the potential to destroy all the gains that we have made since independence if we allow it to deepen its roots. The pervasive nature of corruption is that it is an impediment to socio-economic development. Corruption hampers national, economic, social and political progress in the country seized by it. Corruption can create an atmosphere of frustration, whereby hardworking and honest citizens become distrustful of decision makers”, Noa stressed.
He explained that those who suffer most from corruption are the poor and the marginalized.
He stated that corruption impacts negatively on productivity, undermines administrative efficiency and erodes confidence in the social, political and economic order.
“You can now imagine how deadly corruption is. It is a cancer that eats away at the fabric of society.”
Moreover, he said, it is estimated that every year, over $ 1 trillion is paid in bribes with devastating consequences particularly in developing countries.
In systems that are corrupt, policymakers often initiate or trigger policies and regulations that are always not intended to improve the economic and political environment. In corrupt systems, laws and regulations are not enforced consistently, fairly and impartially.
According to Noa, in such situations, no meaningful development can be realised.
He explained that corruption is a cross-sectoral and cross-boundary crime.
“It has become a common phenomenon to notice government vehicles either parked at sheebeens or being driven around on private business. With some of these vehicles, you will notice that drivers do not even have authorisation documents to drive such vehicles. Some government vehicles have been turned into family vehicles whereby you find a husband, wife and children on a shopping-spree using the government vehicle to drive from one shopping centre to another”.
He warned that when citizens do not report incidents of corruption, they make themselves accomplices in the commission of corruption..
He assured his audience that it is their duty as responsible citizens to report corrupt practices. He said as taxpayers, they are sponsoring corrupt officials by allowing them to perpetrate corruption.
He said acts such as bribery, fraud, nepotism, extortion, embezzlement, money laundering, gifts given with a motive to receive some favors, inside-trading, under-invoicing and patronage constitute corruption.
Government established the ACC to curb corruption, he explained. He said Namibia is signatory to and has ratified anti-corruption instruments, the African Union convention on preventing and combating corruption, the convention against transnational organised crime and the United Nations convention against corruption.