WINDHOEK- Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein has described the reported loss of around N$600 million in cash belonging to Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) members, as “a sad day for Namibia”.
Schlettwein’s comment follows Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa’ s disclosure last week that government has failed to trace GIPF missing funds which is estimated to be in the region of N$600 million.
The pension fund had granted loans worth over N$600 million from 1994 to 2004, with the hope of making a return of N$950 million. The pension fund managed to recoup only N$380 million back.
Imalwa at a media briefing last week said the probe into the missing millions faced some challenges, among others the period of time that lapsed from the time the loans were applied for and granted and subsequent investigations.
She said most documentary evidence could not be located.
Also, she said the task of the investigators was made difficult because of the changes in staff at the GIPF.
“Those who were involved with the applications and approval of loans, especially the trustees, have indicated that with the absence of documents to refresh their memories, they have no independent recollection of what transpired during the deliberations relating to the granting of those loans,” she said.
She said some of the relevant people who could have shed some light on some of the matters have since died.
But, Schlettwein who took to Twitter to raise his frustration said “whatever the reasons, it is a sad day for Namibia when we have to admit that an amount of N$600 million pension money cannot be traced, is lost and we do not know who lost it.”
Likewise, leader of the official opposition, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), McHenry Venaani has called on Imalwa to step down as the head of the prosecution authority.
“We have asked the President of the republic to recuse the prosecutor general and to ask her to resign, why, because you cannot be a prosecutor general, the biggest heist of the country, but you are saying you don’t have enough evidence to prosecute it, you cannot do anything about it and the people’s money is gone,” Venaani said during a media briefing here last week.
Furthermore. Imalwa during a media briefing confirmed that one person – whose identity she withheld – has been charged under the Insolvency Act and also with fraud into the missing millions of the Government Institutions Pension Fund.
She said the person is scheduled to appear in the Oshakati Regional Court on October 3, this year.
Venaani claims what is happening in this country now is that government is laughing at corruption.
He said he will mobilise a people’s march against the Office of the Prosecutor General, against the Office of the Chief Justice because GIPF saga is a miscarriage of justice.
“The march will not be a PDM march but a people’s march, PDM will only be leading,” he stresses.
Asked why only Imalwa office is targeted in this saga while the issue also involves the police and GIPF itself, Venaani said “because the prosecutor general as an officer of the law should have put this matter to court, you must be put to test in court, the court must have a final say in the matter.”
He alleges the fact that Imalwa is not prosecuting, shows that she is protecting someone. Venaani also called on the office of the prosecutor general to share with the public whatever evidence they have.