KATIMA MULILO - Anti-Corruption Commission boss Paulus Noa yesterday vowed to go after each official entrusted with public office but using such powers for personal gain.
His comments follow the arrest and first court appearance yesterday of Zambezi chief regional officer ReginaNdopu-Lubinda, who has been serving as CRO since 2011, and three others at Katima Mulilo in connection with corruption involving over N$4 million of public funds unaccounted for.
The other nabbed senior officials comprise Beaven Walubita, who is head of planning and rural development; deputy director of planning Cletius Mubita; and chief planner Daniel Mbala.
The quartet appeared in the Katima Mulilo Magistrate’s Court, where each accused person was granted bail of N$50 000.
Approached for comment on the matter yesterday, Noa did not mince his words.
“In fact, the ACC means serious business when it comes to acting on complaints like in that case. We investigated thoroughly, and thereafter submitted the dockets to the Prosecutor-General (PG) for a decision. It was two dockets. The ACC takes action against any suspect implicated by evidence of corrupt activities, irrespective of his or her status.”
He issued a stern warning that this arrest should serve as a message to other public officials who indulge themselves in such dishonest actions of abusing public funds.
“Whoever is entrusted with public office and is including themselves in activities such as accepting bribes... definitely, they are inviting the ACC to take action. We are not joking,” Noa stressed.
ACC spokesperson Josefina Nghituwamata confirmed that the anti-graft entity arrested the four people as part of the commission’s investigation into a corruption case.
“They are accused of corruptly using positions or office for gratification, in violation of section 43 (1,) read with sections 35 of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2003 (Act No.8 of 2003),” she told New Era yesterday.
She said two more senior officials are expected to appear in the same court on charges of corruption today.
Katima Mulilo prosecutor Bronah Mukoya represented the State.
“We do not object to bail. However, we suggest bail of N$50 000 for each. We are suggesting such high bail due to the amount involved exceeding N$4 million,” she submitted.
Magistrate Beatrice Sibalatani remanded the case to 7 December 2023, pending the accused securing legal representation.
Upon bail being paid, the accused were warned to appear at the Katima Mulilo Magistrate’s Court office, B-Court on 7 December 2023 at 09h00. In case of failure to appear in court, a warrant of arrest may be issued against them, and their bail will be provisionally cancelled and the bail money will be provisionally forfeited to the State.
The four accused persons all chose private legal representation after the magistrate read their rights to engage a legal representative of their choice.