The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigated a total 5 955 cases since its inception in 2006, but of these only 509 were submitted to the prosecutor-general with a recommendation for prosecution, ACC director-general Paulus Noa revealed last week.
Speaking at the commemoration of International Anti-Corruption Day in Windhoek on Friday, Noa said after investigation many cases could not be submitted to the prosecutor-general with a recommendation for prosecution, as no evidence was found to substantiate the allegations.
He said some cases were referred to administrative authorities with recommendations for administrative actions against officials suspected of misconduct. He said over the past financial year, 1 321 such cases were referred to various authorities with a number of recommendations.
The ACC saved taxpayers millions of dollars through the interruption and investigation of people involved in suspicious business transactions with public institutions, Noa further noted.
The ACC chief added that the commission also saved the taxpayer millions of dollars in fraudulent claims submitted to the revenue fund that it prevented.
He said reports of massive tax evasion were reported to the commission and after preliminary investigations such reports were referred to the revenue authority for action in terms of the State Finances Act.
Noa went on to say the commission also took action against suspects who – in collusion with government officials – established briefcase companies to in some instances act as middlemen, with the intention of siphoning off public funds.
“The focus of the commission was not only limited to the public sector,” he said, noting that fraudsters in the private sector in instances where there was evidence of criminal wrongdoing, were also prosecuted after investigation.
“Abuse of office for private gain, embezzlement or misappropriation of public funds were some of the many cases investigated by the commission,” Noa said, adding that the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies, including the ACC, was enhanced by the enactment of laws, such as the Financial Intelligence Act and the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
According to Noa, during the course of investigation, the commission in some cases was able to identify proceeds of crime, as well as goods or properties used in the commission of crime.
In such instances, he said, the ACC approached the prosecutor-general to consider launching an application for the preservation and forfeiture of such property.
Speaking at the same occasion, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative Kiki Ghebo said by diverting domestic and foreign funds, corruption undermines economic and social development and increases poverty.
“Corruption strangles people, communities and nations. It weakens education and health, undermines electoral processes and reinforces injustices by perverting criminal justice systems and the rule of law,” she said in a speech delivered on her behalf by her deputy, Izumi Marota-Alakija.
She said urgent action is needed to include anti-corruption measures as part of implementing Goal 16 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She said Goal 16 seeks to reduce corruption and bribery and promote access to justice and accountable and transparent institutions.
It also urges the curbing of corruption and bribery and the development of effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.
“Poor governance is not only ruinous for democracy, it is an obstacle to equality and corrodes opportunities for the poorest, who often shoulder a disproportionate share of the corruption burden,” Ghebo said.
The ACC currently has 28 investigators responsible for investigating allegations of corruption in the entire country.
In the last financial year the commission was allocated N$49.8 million from the national budget.