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ACC moots special corruption courts…Amupanda, Venaani call for reforms

2024-04-03  Aletta Shikololo

ACC moots special corruption courts…Amupanda, Venaani call for reforms

The national anti-graft body is calling for the establishment of specialised courts dealing specifically with cases of corruption, fraud, money laundering and tax evasion.

This is due to the slow pace at which corruption cases are being handled by the normal courts. 

This call is contained in the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)’s 2022/2023 financial year report, which was tabled in  the National Assembly last week. 

If it comes to pass, the initiative will instil confidence in the criminal justice system, the ACC stated. 

The commission has noted that delays in finalising cases may result in members of society losing confidence in the justice system, hence potentially losing the courage to report suspicious acts of corruption to law-enforcement agencies.

“The commission urges that priority be given to cases involving fraud and corruption to enhance public confidence in the fight against corruption, as well as in the justice system. The convictions and sentences imposed by the courts send a powerful message of deterrence in society as corruption, fraud, money laundering and tax evasion cause damage to the economy,” reads the report.

While recognising that the amendments to the Prevention of Organised Crime Act are commendable, the commission wants  a law passed, providing for the admissibility of electronically-obtained evidence. 

The ACC said this will complement the gathering of evidence by law-enforcement agencies, and make it possible to prove complex cases in criminal hearings. 

“Technology has advanced to the point where it is time to consider amending relevant laws to allow criminal hearings, when circumstances demand, to be conducted via videoconference,” read another part.

The commission also implored sectors of society to commit themselves to joining them in raising awareness and curbing corruption in Namibia, saying the plundering and mismanagement of
 public resources must be prevented at all costs.

“Corruption is a disease which, if not nipped in the bud, will severely destroy the good gains thus far achieved, and destroy the social fabric of Namibian society,” the commission stated.

No need

Contrary to the ACC’s call, Popular Democratic Movement leader McHenry Venaani said there is no need for the establishment of new courts. 

“First of all, we need [to see] the will by the ACC to tackle corruption. What are the corruption cases that they are working on that need courts for?” he wanted to know. 

The politician is of the fervent view that the ACC is only dealing with minor cases, while leaving major cases behind.

What is needed, he said, is reforming the ACC by sharpening its teeth to fight corruption.

“First of all, let the ACC work, and then we will see if the problem lies with the court. Of course, they have no prosecuting powers, but adding another institution will just absorb a lot of money. What is needed is to have an effective anti-corruption commission for now,” the politician stated. 

Regarding the delay of corruption cases, Venaani said it is rather a judicial process.

“You don’t need a new court to deal with delays; you need to expedite the cases, and that is another matter,” he continued. 



Meanwhile, social activist and Affirmative Repositioning movement leader Job Amupanda welcomed the call for specialised courts.

Over the years, he has been vocal against corruption in both his personal and political capacities.  “We need institutional reforms as far as the fight against corruption is concerned, but also in other jurisdictions. Not only specialised courts, but the decision whether there is corrupt conduct or not is taken by a commission in other countries,” said Amupanda.

Echoing similar sentiments to that of Venaani, he also called for institutional reform of the anti-corruption architecture. 

Ironically, while the anti-graft body is called a commission, it does not have the functions of a commission but rather an agency, Amupanda opined.  “A commission must have a commissioner. The Electoral Commission of Namibia is a commission that has commissioners, and so is the National Planning Commission,” he said.

While Amupanda thinks a call for specialised courts is necessary, he said these courts should not only deal with corruption-related matters. 

“Since the 90s, we have been calling for a small claims court. If a person owes you N$1 000, and you want to go to court, the lawyer will ask you for N$2 500 to open a file. So, you are going to spend a lot of money trying to recover N$1 000, and that is why people don’t do that anymore. So, we need specialised courts not only to deal with corruption, but also small claims,” he proffered.



According to statistics from the ACC, the most-reported corruption cases relate to abuse of power, bribery, abuse of public resources, Value Added Tax (VAT), tender irregularities and irregularities in recruitment. 

Whistleblowers continued mainly  reporting cases of abuse of power, with 57% of corruption reports in the latest annual report attesting to this fact. Since its inception in 2006, the ACC has submitted 768 cases to the prosecutor general (PG) for a decision. Of these, the PG decided to prosecute 567 cases. 

Accordingly, 343 have been finalised in courts, with 201 cases resulting in a conviction, while 142 cases resulted in acquittals/withdrawals of charges. 224 cases are still pending in courts. Out of the total cases submitted to the PG, the PG declined to prosecute 104 cases, while 28 were referred back to the commission for further investigations, and a further five to the Namibian Police, while the 64 remaining are pending before the PG. Meanwhile, during the period under review, 22 corruption-related cases were finalised in the courts, out of which 11 resulted in convictions.

2024-04-03  Aletta Shikololo

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