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Namibians afraid to report corruption: ACC

2019-04-12  Selma Ikela

Namibians afraid to report corruption: ACC

WINDHOEK – The Anti-corruption Commission’s(ACC) Director-General Paulus Noa says people are relatively scared to report corruption or abuse in their workplace-and those who do-fail to provide substantive evidence.
The anti-graft body is often ostracized for tackling only the so-called small cases while ignoring those involving highly placed public officials such as politicians.

 “Most people do not have the guts to report corruption, even when it directly affects them. I must say that such tendencies are not helpful to our course,” he said.

Noa bemoaned the fact that although the ACC has become a punching bag for critics who claim ACC is failing to execute his mandate, the evidence being presented is often shallow and hardly admissible as evidence during investigations.
The quality and amount of relevant information of the corruption complaints received directly affects whether the complaint can be pursued, he said.

“Therefore, the majority of non-pursuable corruption complaints were due to insufficient, vague or unsubstantiated information provided,” he said.

Noa said he is cognizant of the fact that whistleblowers are fearful that their cover might be blown if they report cases, but he added that such fear should not stand in the way of the fight to eliminate corruption.

“The public must understand the nature of our work and that we must have substantial grounds to probe a matter. Unlike the media which has greater leeway to write what they want, we have to be more careful,” he said.
The ACC boss also implored managers at public institutions to improve their respective governance systems.
He said a number of cases reported to the ACC are of administrative nature and should therefore be dealt with by the respective institutions.

“Our mandate is to probe criminal matters. If administrative bodies do their work we will have less corruption in this country. Matters related to ethics and morals should be dealt with internally and not by the ACC. Some managers neglect their duties and even ignore complaints from the workers, in most cases managers only act when ACC steps in, which should not be the case,” he lamented.

In a press statement issued yesterday, the ACC said it is investigating 21 of 60 complaints received between January and March this year. 

The complaints received were both corruption-related and non-corruption related, read the statement. “Hence, non -corruption related complaints were referred to the relevant government authorities for their actions,” ACC said. 
Out of the 60 complaints, 26 complaints were closed as there were no reasonable grounds for investigations.  
Two cases were identified for preliminary enquiries while one case was submitted to the office of the Prosecutor-General for a decision and is awaiting feedback. 

In addition, one case was finalized and awaiting the Director-General’s further decision.  The statement said nine complaints were referred to the relevant government authorities and final feedback is still awaited. 

2019-04-12  Selma Ikela

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