ACC director general denies globetrotting
Last week, The Villager engaged ACC director general Paulus Noa in a one-onone in which he addressed allegations made against him. He also answered some questions prior to the sit-down during a telephonic interview. Below is a question and answer to that interaction.
How many days have you been absent from the office in the last three years?
That is a difficult question.
Should I now go to the archives and start from 2006? Since from 2006, I have been out of office when it was needed to be out. I wish you could work for the ACC one day so that you can just see how many people are not prepared to just speak to anyone. They tell you that I am not prepared to speak to you, I want the director general himself.
It is only when you speak to them as the head when they are prepared to speak to you. You must work here to understand how many times the traditional leaders are protesting because I would have just sent an investigator to go and find out from them and to them an investigator, no matter what his title is, is a little boy or little girl. T
hey cannot. I have to go and explain to them what is being alleged and if need be they provide me with feedback. I have to do that because it is my duty to do that. The reason why I was appointed by government is to approach people.
There is also a category of people who as a matter of security will tell you that they are only prepared to share the information with you. They are not in Windhoek and they will tell you they are not prepared to come to Windhoek. Those who write letters to the president himself, those complaints are channelled to the ACC. When people need us, we have to go to them.
It does not matter how many times I need to go there. I sacrificed so many times. Just last week, I went to Ondonga. There are people with information and are not willing to just speak to any Piet and Paul. Why should I hang around the office?
When I am not there my deputy is there. She has to act, that is what the law says. I remember there are times I had to go to the United Nations conference. I was the vice president of the United Nations convention against corruption representing the African continent last year. I had to chair the meetings on behalf of the continent. But those meetings only take place around two times a years. There was not that much travel last year. As I am speaking to you, there is not even a single case that is outstanding pending a decision by the director general. I see a lot of absolute rubbish that is just being said. I don’t know if it’s by The Villager or other sources.
Do not think that in all these trips I have undertaken I have claimed your money as a taxpayer. The only money of yours I have used is the money put in the official vehicle. I have not used your money but I was entitled to claim.
How much have you claimed in S&T for your trips?
Remember that I have been a director of this ACC since its inception. I have not even attended a single training workshop that was paid for by this office. The only workshop I attended was for the head of anti-corruption agencies which was sponsored by the Commonwealth secretariat. I have not even claimed close to half a million, remember these sessions that I attended in the year were not many. If they were many they were maybe two.
What is the current state of your staff morale?
There was a time when some investigators came to me when you people were apparently on this witch hunt again. The investigators came to me and asked me where are these things coming from and now for you to be assured I want you to come.
(said over the phone before the sit-down) Look the Anti-Corruption Commis sion has a directorate and other divisions. We have a division that supports staff, finance and other things. We have a directorate that deals with public education and corruption prevention. These are officials raising awareness developing documents. You have the directorate of investigation and prosecution although we do not prosecute. We have regional offices in Oshana, Erongo and Otjozondjupa catering for nearby regions as well.
You will not find an office that is not pressured. There are 19 investigators in Khomas region. I don’t know if you will ever find an office that will really say no we have everything that is enough. As we are speaking now, the ratio of every investigator against the dockets is less than 10 dockets for cases that are now pending. The pending cases so far, for instance in Erongo are 27.
If you have four investigators and there are 27 cases pending that means each investigators is carrying almost 4 cases. To boost the morale of our staff we offer training. Not only investigators but our officials even up to the cleaners. Some of the training we have offered has gone as far as Botswana. In my life I have never gone through training sponsored by this office. The only training I went through was offered by the common wealth secretariat and it was on leadership. It was training for all heads of anti-corruption agencies who are members of the common wealth in Africa.
When there is money we assist our staff to grow because we do not want them to stay where they are. If there some people telling you that the morale is down maybe because the ACC management is not training to boost the morale of the staff they are lying to you