The Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi, says if organised crime is left unchecked it could have the potential to sabotage national institutions and national security organs to such an extent that the state could become ungovernable.
He made the comments during the official opening of the Annual Conference and General Meeting of the Southern African Chief Justices’ Forum (SACJF) held in Windhoek over the weekend.
According to Katjavivi, organised crime does not only refer to violent crimes, but could also include white-collar crime or blue-collar crimes such as business cartels and corruption in state institutions. And, he said, where institutions are compromised, it becomes very difficult for law-abiding citizens to perform their duties ethically. He said the complicated part of dealing with organised crime is that most of the aspects are intertwined within each other and they often occur across international boundaries. Thus, laws are needed that not only deal succinctly with each aspect, but zip them together when needed. This is where the three organs of the state come in, he said.
The executive has to ensure countries are signatories to international/trans-boundary conventions which can facilitate trans-boundary duality of legislation dealing with organised crime.
He said the legislature needs to craft laws with appropriate penalty clauses purposely meant to deter perpetrators and sympathisers of organised crime.
In equal measure, he said, the legislature should ratify international treaties and conventions so that the country can actively partake in the requirements of such treaties.
Furthermore, the Speaker said, through its oversight responsibility, the legislature should engage stakeholders to expose perpetrators of organised crime.
The judiciary on the other hand has the obligation to ensure that persons found guilty of such offences face the full wrath of the law, including but not limited to asset forfeiture and recovery.
“Indeed, all three organs of the state have a very fundamental role in their own right to play in combating organised crime,” Katjavivi stated.
According to him, most countries’ constitutional arrangements are built around the three organs of the state, with separate roles and mandates, and yet need to manage their business in a complementary manner.