WINDHOEK – Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Director-General Paulus Noa yesterday confirmed that some cabinet ministers are being investigated for corruption on request by President Hage Geingob.
The investigations, New Era understands, are related to concerns raised by President Geingob in February last year, which prompted him to reshuffle some members of his Cabinet at the time.
In February 2018, Geingob named attorney general at the time, Sacky Shanghala, as new justice minister, shifted mines minister Obeth Kandjoze to the economic planning portfolio, and works minister Alpheus !Naruseb to agriculture.
Reflecting on his decision to shift the ministers, Geingob said he was unhappy with the allegations of corruption at the three ministries.“I have particularly been disturbed by various allegations of corruption, maladministration and/or incompetency, mostly directed at the ministry of works; the office of the attorney general; the ministry of mines; and the ministry of health,” he stated. As attorney-general, Shanghala came under heavy criticism over the controversial payment of N$36 million in legal fees to lawyers tasked to deal with the genocide of Nama and Ovaherero communities by German imperial forces in the early 1900s.
In August 2017 while speaking at Omuthiya, Noa expressed concern about how Kandjoze, using Sections 44 and 45 of the Diamond Act of 1999, handpicked the company named C-Sixty for the multi-million dollar diamond evaluation contract of state-owned Namdia.
!Naruseb was works minister when several high-profile controversies, such as the cancelled N$7 billion airport tender which government fought tooth and nail in a battle that was won in the Supreme Court, were at their heights.
In a year-end interview with NBC in December, Geingob confirmed that he has approached the ACC with a directive to investigate ministers accused of corruption, whose names he did not divulge in the broadcast.
“We took actions about charges of corruption against certain ministers,” he told NBC.
The head of state, who declared 2019 as a ‘year of accountability’, said he wrote letters to individual ministers who were repeatedly accused of being corrupt, and ordered them to respond to specific accusations made against them.
“They replied and when they replied I am not a judge so I sent that (their responses) over to the institution that is established to deal with those kinds of situations. It is where it is now.”
Noa yesterday confirmed receipt of the President’s request to investigate the unnamed ministers.
He told New Era that the ACC received a request from the Office of the President to investigate ministers charged with corruption.
Noa said the ACC received written explanations from the ministers who are accused of corruption on the request of the President.
“We are reading those explanations. If we find something relevant we will pursue it,” said Noa, whose agency has often been accused of avoiding cases involving those deemed as “big fish”.
The ACC has always denied accusations that it preoccupies itself with smaller cases, but the President’s request perhaps presents it with a perfect opportunity to roll out a probe involving high-profile individuals.
ACC investigators often cite, as an example of their fearlessness, the ongoing hearing in the High Court against education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, who faces corruption charges.
Noa yesterday refused to be drawn into revealing details on the content of the explanations by the unidentified ministers to the President.
“I cannot share that with you,” he pleaded.
“The relevant office (Office of the President) should give it to you,” said Noa.
The presidency did not respond to questions sent to it in this regard.
2019-01-10 09:27:08 6 days ago