Transparency International’s corruption perception index has ranked Namibia favorably ahead of Italy, Hungary and Greece in its 2018 survey and the corruption watch dog’s director, Paulus Noa, has said there is no need for complacency.
The index also ranks Botswana, Rwanda, Seychelles and Cabo Verde favorably among countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Added to that, Seychelles and Botswana, which score 61 and 60 respectively, do better than Spain at 57.
“Yes, I have seen it and as you correctly put it that its Botswana Namibia and Rwanda who are actually falling among among the least corrupt countries according to Transparency International’s corruption perception index. What I need to indicate to you is that Namibia is still among the top countries in the Sadc region.”
“And on the African continent, Namibia is still among the top, being the fourth. It’s only Botswana, Rwanda, Seychelles and Namibia. Meaning that we are still perceived to be the least corrupt country but there is no need for complacency at all,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Villager.
Noa said that the assessments that are normally done look at various factors which includes anti-corruption measures and laws that are put in place by a sovereign.
“Now you know that we have a very robust Procurement law. We have the Whistleblower protection and obviously we have a national anti-corruption policy. This has been developed by the Anti-Corruption Commission and approved by our government.”
"These are among some other measures that have been taken. As much as some of these measures might not have been considered during the time when they were doing doing their survey, definitely we expect that in the next perception assessment that Transparency International is going to do, they are going to take this into consideration,” he explained.
However, Noa lamented the absence of an Access to information legislation as shooting Namibia in the foot in progressing up the ranks of the corruption perception index.
Noa said government needs to move faster and come up with this legislation.
“Namibia is ranked among the countries that has got a very good system when it comes to freedom of the press, and expression and so on. But that alone is not enough in the absence of the legislation.”
“You need to have a legislation to convince those who are conducting surveys that yes, you have something that is actually protecting freedom of the press and also something that guarantees access to information,” he added.
However, Noa has busted the thinking that Transparency International looks at the number of corruption cases that have been investigated to arrive at their judgement.
“It’s not true, it’s not like that. What they normally look (at), they look at the economic status of the country. They look at the level of inequality, in terms of the economy, how the economy is preforming. Remember the data of Transparency International comes from the World bank, it comes from the International Monetary Fund and other international economic organisations that conduct surveys on the performance of the economy,” he said.
Noa said when a sovereign ha a lot of inequality in terms of the country’s income, it has to expect its assessment to be somehow low.
“I am not saying with certainty but the other thing that may damage Namibia’s good record when it comes to fighting corruption and transparency and accountability is this, the undeserving and malicious classification of Namibia as one of the safe havens when it comes to illicit financial flows,” he said.