WINDHOEK – During 2018, the Ministry of Finance uncovered more corruption cases within its corridors compared to the previous year. Addressing his staff yesterday, Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein, revealed that while only six corruption cases were exposed in 2017/18, this year, the figure increased to more than double with 15 corruption cases discovered.
At the ministry’s annual staff meeting held in the auditorium of the National Theatre of Namibia, Schlettwein noted that his ministry has clamped down on corruption by adapting a zero-tolerance policy and by introducing more stringent measures to identify the offenders. “We have clamped down on corruption partly because of the ministry’s ability to catch and prosecute the culprits,” Schlettwein told his staff.
He added that staff accused of corruption think they can resign and thereby escape being charged or prosecuted. “This is a miscalculation. We will catch up with you eventually,” Schlettwein warned.
The minister continues that investigations will not only focus on corrupt staff members but will also concentrate on corrupt members of the public, particularly service providers. “Corruption is happening not only in the civil service. Private entities are equally involved,” said Schlettwein.
Commenting on the state of the Namibian economy, which has endured a recession for the last two years, Schlettwein said: “We over committed ourselves during the good years and we did not apply the brakes in time to avoid a downturn. We only applied in time to avoid a deeper contraction.”
However, he noted that austerity measures and the consolidation process resulted in ‘pain’ that was worthwhile and that has aligned revenue and expenditure to stable and acceptable levels.
“We are not off the contractionary phase completely but I am positive that we have passed the turning point,” Schlettwein noted.