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Home / Whistleblowers must provide evidence – Steenkamp

Whistleblowers must provide evidence – Steenkamp

2022-04-05  John Muyamba

Whistleblowers must provide evidence – Steenkamp

RUNDU – After anonymous claims of widespread jobs for sale and bribery against education officials in the two Kavango regions, the ministry says those making the allegations must come forth with evidence.

Education ministry’s executive director Sanet Steenkamp said although some anonymous sources are coming out to inform the ministry of allegations of corruption in the recruitment of teachers in the two Kavango regions, it is hard for the ministry to act because these sources are not providing evidence. She said the ministry can only act if there is evidence - even if the evidence is provided anonymously.

Steenkamp reacted to an anonymous letter written to New Era, accusing officials in the directorate of education of corruptly employing teachers for payments.

The anonymous whistleblower said he or she is a teacher, who works in the Kavango region, writing to get the article published to urge any patriotic Namibian police official, top government officials and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to put an end to the alleged rampant corruption taking place in the two Kavango regions, especially in Kavango East, where posts in education allegedly have price tags.

The author stated that teachers in these regions, who were fired from the civil service, were back at work, despite having received a termination of contract letters from the office of the Prime Minister in these regions. 

“Some teachers come straight from resignation and get promotional posts as HODs. A school under construction already has a principal and HODs long before posts are advertised. If you want to transfer from one school to another, you must pay a bribe to the school principal where you are going and before they call you for an interview, the post is already given to the highest bidder – and they call the rest of the applicants to attend the interview just to cover up their ‘dirty’ acts and make it seem as if the recruitment process was transparent. 

“This rampant corruption is public knowledge in Kavango regions. Everyone knows it, including the directors of education; that’s why it’s only the police, ACC or top ministry of education officials who will put an end to this corruption,’’ the author noted.

The writer said, with the shortage of teaching posts in the ministry of education, the culprits are capitalising on the situation, and they are not even hiding their criminal acts. 

It is alleged an applicant was told straight in the face to pay a bribe of N$20 000 to get the teaching post that was advertised in the media.

“We have received in the past anonymous letters; it is very difficult to work with anonymity, especially if not sufficient documents or supporting documents or details are provided. In the ministry of education, we are stringently investigating any cases reported to us,” Steenkamp noted.

“I must state, however, that it takes time and a lot of resources that we did investigate in the past in the two Kavango regions and we didn’t get anything. If there are these cases of corruption, they need to be unravelled, and people need to be held accountable but we can only do that if we receive much more information than just a text,” she said.

The ED stated the ministry has investigated corruption in Kavango regions and held people accountable, for example on the fraud cases, in terms of finances, where over N$11 million was stolen from the ministry’s coffers through “funny payments” to a chain of an organised syndicate of the ministry officials. 

“We have retrieved the funds; the disciplinary process continued and some people lost their jobs. I still need to find out from the regional directors how many have been reemployed if that is the case; however, if people are not free to speak out because they, themselves, benefited from fraudulent, unethical and corrupt practices, there isn’t much hope that we can restore in a situation,” she noted.

“But just to say I will not mention the name of the school; if so, many people are involved with corruption. We need much more to make an in-depth investigation because it will continuously cover up; they do that by not providing us with more information, so where does that leave us,” Steenkamp asked. 

“Spending resources – sending investigation teams: we have done that before, and we did not get anything, so as much as we appreciate people coming forward and we need them to come forward, as we want to stamp out corruption. We need some sense of documents – even if you provide it anonymously; we can do it,” she noted.

When asked to comment, the Kavango East education director Fanuel Kapapero said those with proof must step up. 

“I know people are desperate because there are no teaching jobs as they were in the past. I challenge the author to come forward with evidence,” he said.


Caption (Sanet): 

2022-04-05  John Muyamba

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