OTJIWARONGO - Integrity committee members from the Kavango East, Kavango West, Zambezi and Otjozondjupa regional councils gathered Monday in Otjiwarongo for training on ethics and integrity awareness and anti-corruption measures.
The sessions included practical exercises on identifying and responding to suspected crimes within the public service.
Integrity committees were established as part of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2019 objectives.
The main aim of the integrity committees is to help the ACC tackle all forms of corruption, especially in government and public enterprises.
The committees comprised countrywide representatives from offices, ministries, agencies and regional councils.
The two-day workshop, organised by the Office of the Prime Minister in conjunction with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), also highlights revisions to the Public Service Staff Rule on Code of Conduct, integrity and ethics.
ACC executive director Hannu Shipena stated the rule was amended to strengthen public trust in the public service and support anti-corruption initiatives.
“Anecdotal evidence indicates that a large section of the Namibian population, especially the youth, are increasingly losing trust in the public service. They believe the public service appears to lack the quality of being honest, reliable and trustworthy in its operations,” Shipena noted.
In his welcoming remarks, Shipena encouraged public servants to take action when witnessing workplace corruption, emphasising the importance of enforcing anti-corruption laws at regional level.
“Enforcing anti-corruption laws is not the complete answer to eliminating corruption in our country. As leaders and managers, we have a duty to prevent and act against the corrupt elements in our midst – in our offices,” conceded Shipena.
“We have the Public Service Act and its regulations to deal with public servants. We now have integrity committees to assist the executive director or the chief regional officer to prevent unethical practices before they graduate into massive corrupt schemes,” he added.
Monday marked the start of the first of three regional council cluster trainings. Trainings for Oshana, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Kunene and Omusati regional councils will be held Thursday and Friday in Oshakati, while Khomas, Hardap, Kharas and Erongo committee members will convene in Windhoek between 19-20 November.
Integrity committee members are appointed for a three-year period, and they are monitored and evaluated annually.