Low salary not reason to steal – PG

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Windhoek- 17 May 2011- Namibia's Prosecutor-General Olivia Ekandjo- Imalwa addressing the local media about the State's decision to partially withdraw charges of rape and murder against Junias Phillipus. Phillipus was earlier accused of having killed the late Windhoek school girl Magrietha Stoffels in Khomasdal last year (2010). Phillipus was released after the DNA test did not link him to the alleged rape and murder case. (Photo by Simon Kopper Endjala) Nampa

Maria Amakali

Windhoek-The prosecutor general Martha Imalwa has dismissed the notion that poor remuneration is the reason there is an increase in the number of state prosecutors who have been charged for illegal activities, including fraud.

“The salary is not enough as we would want it to be, but it is not so little that one cannot survive on it. My fellow prosecutors, be satisfied with what you are getting,” said Imalwa, adding that she has been fighting for prosecutors to get a fair salary.

Imalwa pointed out that one does not join the prosecution to merely become rich but rather to serve the interests of Namibian people. “There is a saying that money is not for those that earn it but for those that know how to use it,” said Imalwa.

Imalwa, in an interview with New Era, bluntly said that those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law – be they prosecutors or not – would be dealt with accordingly.

“My office is taking these matters of prosecutors contravening the laws of the country seriously. If a person has committed an offence, be it a prosecutor, the wrath of the law will deal with you. We do not merely discriminate because you are simply one of us,” explained Imalwa.

Imalwa was also emphatic that even when eventually found innocent, prosecutors who had been charged with crime would not automatically be reinstated in their job.

“Even if one is acquitted does not necessarily mean that they were not involved in the offence committed. A person can be acquitted on a technicality but it does not mean you are innocent,” stressed Imalwa. She however said they would remain public servants.

“Prosecutors as officers of the law and people’s defenders should maintain integrity and professionalism and not tamper with their work as it will surely cost them their careers.”

Imalwa’s comments follow a number of newspaper reports of court cases involving prosecutors, magistrates and court clerks, who are before court for defrauding the state and thievery.

The lower court is currently dealing with three cases of fraud against former Windhoek prosecutors Ivan Tjizu and Anton Wilson, and Otjiwarongo prosecutor Johannes Nunuheb. Tjizu is facing criminal charges following his alleged involvement in a witness fees scam worth N$410,000. Nunuheb is accused of pocketing N$3,400 for his involvement in criminal activities while he was a prosecutor. Wilson is facing charges of fraud and corruptly using false documents for personal gain and allegedly having stolen a charge sheet.

Salaries of prosecutors are determined by the Public Service Commission, which deals with salaries of all civil servants including prosecutors.

“One cannot compare the remuneration of the private sector to that of the government. Since the government also has to cater for other departments,” said Imalwa.

Imalwa pleaded with the public not to lose faith in the prosecution just because of a few rotten apples, advising the public to rather report all illegal activities.

“My office has an open door policy and everyone is welcome for the public to report all criminal activities,” she said.

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