By Kuzeeko Tjitemisa / Lahja Nashuuta
Windhoek — Under fire Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) director-general Paulus Noa says his office is unaware of corrupt practices at various government ministries involving compromised tenders.
The office of the Attorney General; the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Ministry of Works and Transport as well as the Ministry of Health and Social Services stand accused of maladministration within their ranks.
During last week’s Cabinet reshuffle, President Hage Geingob underlined how he deems claims of alleged corruption at the named ministries when he transferred the political heads of those ministries to other ministries, except for the health minister.
Currently there is also speculation some deputy ministers could be appointed to fill up the positions of those elevated to full ministerial posts and others could be shifted or removed entirely.
When approached to shed light on these potentially damning allegations, Noa cheekily responded that he was unaware of the allegations notwithstanding the fact Geingob last week aired his displeasure adding that he has been gravely disturbed by various allegations of corruption, maladministration and/or incompetency levelled at the said portfolios. Speaking to New Era, on Friday, Noa who has in the past been accused of targeting small fish such as school secretaries, said no single case of corruption has been reported at his office regarding the accused ministries.
At the First Cabinet Meeting last week, a fired-up Geingob reaffirmed his firm leadership political will and commitment to fight corruption whilst upholding good corporate governance.
Geingob further reiterated the general political desire in fighting corruption was demonstrated by the reversal of the multi-billion-dollar Hosea Kutako International Airport tender award.
He also cited investigations into the alleged inflated costs to the National Oil Storage Facility as well as the much-trumpeted Neckartal Dam, while the timely intervention to thwart the Namibia-Angola crude oil import scheme must also be applauded.
He added the long dragging cases and investigations, such as the marathon trials of Avid, Social Security Commission, Offshore Development Company, GIPF, the Kora Awards and SME Bank also demonstrate Government’s commitment to root out corruption in the country.
Furthermore, the President said Namibia has put in place effective measures and established the independent Anti-Corruption Commission to fight corruption.
He also added that apart from Namibia being a signatory to the African Union ‘Convention on the Preventing and Combating of Corruption’, and other international legal instruments that oblige member states to fight corruption whilst recognising the devastating effects of maladministration, the Whistleblowers Protection Act was promulgated in order to enhance the effectiveness in eradicating corruption.
“Our determination to fight and address corruption is not only confined to national legislations and guidelines that are already in place as informed by the international community’s resolve to fight corruption,” he charged. Geingob said the government would also deal with the issue of poor-public-service-delivery including incompetence as this may also yield corrupt practices as a result of insufficient controls punctuated by poor management.
“Our willingness to investigate and subsequently charge government officials demonstrates government’s commitment to root out corruption in its entirety in our country.
“I’ve written to a number of political heads, some government ministries and offices, requesting them to respond to allegations levelled against them or their respective ministries within a specified period. This will enable me and my team to fully understand the cause for the considerable unhappiness from the public towards the implicated ministries,” stressed Geingob.
The President explained that this exercise would further provide an opportunity for those accused to defend themselves or to rebut, in cases where allegations are unfounded, thus enabling him to take corrective measures, where need be.
Among the ministries accused of corruption, maladministration and/or incompetency, are the Ministry of Works and Transport; the Office of the Attorney General; the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Health and Social Services, he revealed.
Geingob who labelled 2018 as ‘the year of reckoning’, and has cautioned public office bearers to account to the nation, on the realisation of electoral promises and implementation of national development plans.
“I am aware that to some reckoning would mean, ‘the heads of big fish must roll’. I wish to highlight that in our efforts to hold public officials accountable, we are at the same time enjoined to follow due and fair processes.
“Those who may be found to have breached their public duties, will, therefore, be given a fair opportunity to defend themselves in accordance with the requirements of our constitutional democracy”.
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