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Fishrot: Swapo breaks silence over funding

2020-07-13  Albertina Nakale

Fishrot: Swapo breaks silence over funding
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Swapo party yesterday refuted allegations that it got funds from the Fishrot scandal, with both President Hage Geingob and party Secretary General Sophia Shaningwa dismissing claims the party received funding through corruption-tainted politicians. 
This comes few days after a State witness in the ongoing bail application of former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau and his son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi said investigations have shown that Fishrot money bankrolled the Swapo campaign.

Senior investigator at Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Willem Olivier last week said N$15 million and N$2.5 million were paid into local lawyer Sisa Namandje’s trust account under the reference “governmental objectives.”
“This was flagged as suspicious. Part of this money was used for vehicles, personal loans and other items. And as far as investigations found, monies were used for the Swapo campaign,” testified the senior ACC investigator.

Geingob said Swapo financial books are open for scrutiny and anyone is welcome to review them.
“We can give you audited Swapo reports and financial reports and you will not see any money coming from Fishrot. If names of people were mentioned and they are in court proceedings, we are not going to defend, influence and interfere in those proceedings,” Geingob reacted. 

He said if the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) got money to go and run their congress, such activities happen in all political parties, but the party did not get any money into its accounts from Fishrot.
Shaningwa also challenged everyone who wish to see the party’s books to contact the Swapo office.
“The President- being our leader of the party does not have the signatory power over the finances of the party. The accounts that Swapo party holds are administered by the secretary general of the party. The second having signatory power is the deputy secretary and the third person who is a co-signer is the secretary for finance. Henceforth, I with authority would like to tell the public out there; Swapo party rank and file that in all the accounts the Swapo party has- Swapo party didn’t receive a single blue or red penny from what they call Fishrot,” she defended. 
Geingob said the public must allow the statutory and constitutional institutions dealing with the matter to do so in an environment that does not create undue pressure to them, in one way or the other.

“We cannot expect the President or the Swapo party to become the judge, jury and executioner. The Swapo party and its leadership will deal with any allegation on corruption systematically and methodically. Lies and innuendos will not be allowed to fester and I call upon party members to be vigilant against those who seek to sow confusion and division. Our judicial processes must never be subjected to pressure, political or otherwise,” he cautioned.  On the issue of political donations, he said the position of the party is evolving in line with the December 2019 call for introspection. 

He revealed Swapo would commence with its own internal review, reform and investigation to establish the full facts of past political party donations, to enable it to take corrective measures and action. 
Geingob noted because of the prolonged consultations since the coming into effect of the new Electoral Act and other bureaucratic processes required before coming up with the ECN regulations on the prescribed maximum total amount for political donations, the process was only completed during 2019. 

Therefore, he said until 17 November 2019, the ECN regulations required under the ECN Act, to fix a maximum donation threshold were non-existent. 
“Consequently, political parties that may have received donations between 2014 to 17 November 2019 would not have been under statutory obligation to publicly disclose donations as the prescribed donation amount beyond which donations must be publicly disclosed did not exist at the time. Resultantly, both recipients of political donations, and donors, were under no obligation, until 18 November 2019, to make public disclosure of donations beyond the fixed threshold amount,” he explained. 
This applies across the whole political spectrum including donations, foreign or local, made to other political parties and independent candidates.

It has become law, with effect from 18 November 2019, that total donations that political parties may receive from a Namibian person or a Namibian institution should not exceed N$4 million per financial year, while a total sum of donations received from foreign persons or foreign institutions should not exceed N$2 million for a particular year.

Geingob said no Swapo member or sympathiser should seek to solicit donations from any prospective donor, domestic or foreign, without authorisation of the office of the secretary general.
Further, no member or functionary may, on behalf of the party, accept donations from any source, domestic or foreign, without obtaining authority from the party’s secretary for finance and economic affairs, in consultation with the secretary general.

2020-07-13  Albertina Nakale

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