WINDHOEK – Bank Windhoek yesterday emphasised its zero-tolerance approach towards corruption, following the airing of ‘Anatomy of a Bribe’ on the Al-Jazeera news channel this past weekend. The bank also took this decisive step to distance itself from claims by a Namibian on social media that some of the alleged kickbacks and questionable fishing quota transactions of between N$150 million and N$2.5 billion went through Bank Windhoek.
The claims on social media further insinuate that Bank Windhoek’s Managing Director Baronice Hans was appointed to the Fisheries Advisory Council during a crucial time of the alleged kickbacks. The fisheries advisory council is tasked with advising the fisheries minister on the setting of Total Allowable Catches (TACs), levies and fees, expenditure of the fisheries observer fund and marine resources fund. The Council also deals with any matter the minister refers to them for investigation and advice.
However, Bank Windhoek yesterday vehemently refuted the claims. “Allegations and innuendo made on social media towards the Bank’s managing director Baronice Hans are false and may constitute criminal defamation. The Marine Resource Advisory Council was appointed on 29 November 2016, constituting of 13 members, and was not done to replace specific members as alleged. Though Mrs Hans was appointed on the Council, she never formally took up her position and resigned shortly after the appointment, due to her obligations at Bank Windhoek,” read the strongly worded statement from Bank Windhoek’s Executive Officer for Marketing and Corporate Communication Services Jacquiline Pack.
She added that Bank Windhoek has zero tolerance for any corrupt practices and non-compliance to regulatory requirements; thus, its approach has always been to report any suspicious activity and transactions as guided by the Namibian law and Bank of Namibia regulations.
Bank Windhoek’s statement also comes after the bank accounts of former justice minister Sacky Shanghala and businessman Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi were frozen following the fishing kickback scandal being exposed. However, it is unclear when accounts belonging to other accused in the case will also be frozen, but officials in the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) said they are looking at accounts and financial transactions of all people implicated in the scandal.
The Financial Intelligence Centre in the Bank of Namibia approved the freezing of the suspicious bank accounts last week. The freezing of the accounts was confirmed by Director General of the ACC Paulus Noa.
Furthermore, vehicles allegedly belonging to Tamson Hatuikulipi, who is building a multi-million-dollar house in Windhoek, were allegedly seized by Namibian authorities. BoN’s Financial Intelligence Centre is authorised to suspend bank accounts for 12 days. After this, the suspensions are only lifted when there is no action from the Office of the Prosecutor General.
2019-12-03 07:21:56 | 8 days ago