Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Director-General Paulus Noa has blasted Namibian political parties for not taking to task politicians involved in alleged corrupt activities.
He said office-bearers such as councillors and ministers are elected by the people through their political parties and thus their respective parties should hold them accountable when they do the opposite of what they are mandated to do.
Speaking at a meeting to sensitise the //Kharas Region’s local and regional councillors on the ACC’s corruption strategy and action plan, he explained that the ACC does not have a mandate to investigate pure administrative cases, and thus the political parties must play an important role to ensure that their representatives and political appointees follow the rules and laws.
He added that sometimes the communities are aware that candidates for such positions are incapable of carrying out such duties, and their only interest is to enrich themselves and their friends, but people vote for them because they like their political parties, and thus it is up to the respective political parties to hold such political leaders accountable when they do not deliver.
Noa’s remarks could be an indirect reference to several ministers accused of suspected corrupt practices being shifted to other ministries during last month’s Cabinet reshuffle and he seems to concur with critics who felt President Hage Geingob should have fired errant ministers. “The political parties are the ones failing the nation, people vote for people that they know are dead wood because they love their party, but who is supposed to take them to task when they do wrong things? It is supposed to be their parties, but this is not happening, political parties are selling out,” he said, adding that parties even fail to remove and replace underperformers.
He further blasted politicians for turning a blind eye to corruption, saying many a time politicians do not speak out against corruption especially when it involves their colleagues, and this he said is not conducive for a country that seeks to get rid of corruption.
Noa stressed the need for politicians and administrative officers to speak out against corruption, saying office-bearers must be able to point fingers at each other and demand accountability from one another, adding that Namibia can only effectively fight corruption if people speak up against the vice that costs taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
“You hardly hear a politician criticising another politician, even though they know that some of these things happening, which results in millions and millions of dollars being lost, is because of their colleagues. These politicians are tasked with the responsibility of taking care of institutions and making sure that they are run according to the law, but instead of pointing fingers at their colleagues, you hear them talking political language,” he said.
He said the fight against corruption is not the duty of the ACC alone, but requires a multi-sectoral approach whereby everyone contributes positively in order to wipe out corruption.
He stressed the importance of preventing corruption, noting with concern that in many instances those reporting cases wait till the end to report instead of informing the ACC from the onset when they see something wrong, adding that prevention is better than cure.
“If we allow until money has been spent, until the project has been concluded, we end up losing money that could have been used for something else, and we keep complaining, and you say ACC is useless, forgetting that you did not report it at an early stage,” he said.
He also urged councillors and administrative officers to clean their houses on their own, and not wait on ACC to do even the smallest of things, as he narrated that some administrators are very weak and fail to hold anyone accountable even for small transgressions.
“Deal with the councillors when they are doing things against policies, do not keep quiet and wait for other institutions to investigate, you know what they do. Even if someone does not come to work they say we have reported it to ACC, and we are waiting for the investigation, this is not our duty,” he said.