The Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) chief education and corruption prevention officer Helena Iitula has urged the Ongandjera Traditional Authority to refrain from incriminating itself in dodgy deals when executing its duties.
She also advised traditional authorities to be at the helm of fighting crime in their communities.
“You are in the community, you are the eyes of the government because you know what is happening at ground level,” emphasized Iitula.
Iitula made the remarks at an ACC sensitization seminar with the Ongandjera Traditional Authority on Tuesday. A similar seminar was conducted with all the northern traditional authorities in 2012.
The seminar sought to educate the traditional authority on the role of the ACC and the core of its establishment.
Equally, the seminar also sought to enlighten the traditional authority of the various levels of crime in which nepotism, favoritism, fraud, bribery and conflict of interest featured high on the list.
According to Iitula, the role of the ACC is to investigate complaints brought to its attention by members of the public and not to prosecute.
“You often hear on radio and people saying that the ACC should be abolished because we are not doing our job. I want to make it clear that our job is to investigate, but we do not prosecute. Prosecution is left to the courts,” explained Iitula.
She further advised participants to refrain from using their positions or from using state resources to enrich themselves, stressing that once they are found wanting they are eligible to be investigated by the ACC.
Iitula advised participants to report to the ACC any dodgy land dealings in their community and to refrain from becoming accomplices.
“Sometimes a headman gets bribes for land or sells the same piece of land to several people. Sometimes they even declare false information because they know the person. All this is corruption,” advised Iitula.
The seminar further aimed to empower the Ongandjera Traditional Authority to strengthen existing mechanisms of good governance or introduce new ones and integrate guidelines on detecting, preventing and fighting corruption in its own systems and policies.
The seminar as well sought to assist traditional authorities to align relevant provisions of the Traditional Authorities Act to those of the Anti-Corruption Act (Act No 8 of 2003).
Some participants expressed concern about transparency and diligence in work. Some participants said there was no fairness and transparency in many traditional authorities.
“The truth is that there is no transparency in traditional authorities. It is not easy because we are volunteers, we do not get remuneration,” said one participant with others in agreement.
However, the King of Ongandjera Johannes Jafet who was among the participants argued that there was transparency in his traditional authority.
He further explained that remuneration from the regional government ministry is paid to the king, all headmen and their assistants.
However, advisors are only remunerated when they sit in the prosecution of tribal cases.