Windhoek-President Hage Geingob this week challenged anyone hinting that he acquired his wealth dubiously to prove their case, saying he declared his assets publicly because he had nothing to hide.
Geingob, worth N$50 million about two years ago, said that when he declared an all-out war on corruption, which included asking Cabinet ministers also to declare their assets to him, he knew he would attract scrutiny.
He had also been warned that many corrupt people would react by attacking him through the press in an attempt to look for “so-called corrupt things”.
“Well, recently we have read and witnessed the manifestation of that warning. It is a sign that the fight is working, so let us continue. I declared my assets in public because I was hearing rumours,” he said when addressing the first meeting of Cabinet for 2017 on Tuesday at State House.
However, Geingob said he was confident that no investigation would find any hint of corruption on his part, as well as that of Cabinet ministers who have declared their assets with the presidency.
“You can hunt and hunt, you are not going to get anything on me. That is why I had openly declared. Try it. Go to the Anti-Corruption now and submit it there,” Geingob said.
He emphasized that the inclusion of his interests in real estate, which he jointly holds with his former wife, was deliberate, which went as far as to state the divorce settlement as reason of the business transaction of the real estate.
This is the real estate which was linked to the real estate development company, Sunrise Investment, owned by Chinese businessman Yuiqua ‘Jack’ Huang, the suspect in the case involving N$3.5 billion in alleged tax evasion, fraud and money laundering.
Geingob said he had been contemplating relinquishing his family trust’s stake in the estate, a property development east of Windhoek.
He also explained he is “glad that [Cabinet ministers] have declared their assets” to the presidency, saying he has all of the declarations made to his office, while making clear that he is not referring to the declaration of assets in parliament. The declaration of assets to the presidency, he said, was not a witch-hunt but to provide protection to ministers.
He assured ministers that if they avoid conflicts of interest and follow the constitutional provisions there would be nothing to fear.
“Because if you are fighting all these years, suffering does not mean you have to continue to fight, to suffer. Whereas those who did nothing have papers, they sell, to get billions and say they are business people. But you must continue to suffer.”
“As long as you can make your money in a prescribed way, by constitution, which says you must declare your assets, to avoid conflict of interest, that’s all you have to do. And I am glad you are doing it, and you have declared, many of you, and am happy with that,” he told Cabinet ministers.
The president’s declared wealth in 2015 included cash and investments, properties, livestock as well as a N$2-million collection of art, gold, gems, jewellery and furniture.
Geingob, in his voluntary financial disclosure report, listed a total of N$14.8 million in several interest-bearing accounts with local banks and one in the USA, a total of N$10.83 million in investment and money market accounts with Allan Gray and Pointbreak Wealth Management, and properties estimated at between N$8 million and N$10 million registered through a family trust called Dr Hage Geingob Family Trust Assets.
Geingob assured that the government architecture remains intact, and the world is seeing the results of the country’s efforts, despite a gloomy picture that is portrayed by certain sectors of the society.
“We should never forget that we belong to a country with dignity and come next month, we will be celebrating 27 years of independence.”
“Swapo is therefore not a victim and neither is the president, so let’s not feel sorry for ourselves but rather respond to every negative action with a positive reaction. No one can make Swapo or the president become victims. I was elected by the people. I got more than 87 percent so don’t feel sorry for me. I hear many of you sending me messages, I am not a victim; I am a victor,” he said.