ACC vows to go after the “big fish” … as proposed budget allocation increases by 3%
The Anti-Corruption Commission of Namibia (ACC) in its budget motivation in parliament has vowed to prioritise high level corruption in an effort to change the public perception that it shies away from such cases.
Confronted by The Villager with the question as to whether ACC was bracing up to fast track reported high profile cases and which ones were on top priority, ACC Director-General Paulus Noa said prioritisation simply meant “looking into the allegations and finding out whether there are elements of criminality or not.”
“Whenever such cases that are perceived to be high profile are coming up, we have to give attention to them Remember recently the new minister of transport has been talking about some of the work that is being done through some cloud of corruption and irregularity, it’s our responsibility to look into that,” he said.
The Villager broke the story on the fuel storage saga and disclosed that finance ministry Permanent Secretary, Ericah Shafudah and National Planning Commission permanent secretary Leevi Hungamo were also sucked in the scandal.
“The other cases are already being given priority like the oil storage matter that has been under investigation, just to look at whether there have been some acts of criminality in the way the tender was awarded and the reason why the price ballooned to something like N$7 billion,” said Noa.
The shoddy tender case in the ministry of health is already under investigation, he said, as well the Namibia Airports Company.
“We have already finalized with the Prosecutor general and have given priority to the Airport company case. So the statement is just to inform the public that in fact so called high profile cases are being attended to and they will be attended to in future,” he said.
Deputy minister in the office of the prime minister, Samuel Chief Ankama said such cases have the potential to undermine the country’s commercial and financial interests.
The ACC has been a subject of ridicule by politicians while high profile cases like the SME bank and the fuel storage saga have not as yet seen any heads rolling.
Noa indicated to The Villager that such cases are still under investigations and are part of the top priority cases this year.
But this will not augur well with the opposition politicians who are baying for blood and continue to raise the motion of missing billions and conclusion of investigations.
The commission is sitting with 15 investigations with an estimated monetary value of N$101 million but Ankama has said that they require substantial resources that require a variety of investigative skills.
These, he said, range from, “financial analyses, expertise in information technology and expert knowledge of the built environment among others.”
“During the 2018/19 financial year, we shall approach the office of the Attorney-General with a view to agreeing on a collaborative effort with prosecutors in tackling complex corruption cases,” said Ankama.
The ACC’s initial allocation of N$59.3 million in 2017/18 was chopped down to N$59.1 and towards mid-March of this year, 325 cases were dealt with.
In this financial year, the corruption watchdog has a proposed allocation of N$60 million, a 3% increase from last year.
The ACC seeks to invest in modern software analyses programs, training officers on modern investigative techniques, engaging experts in specialised field as well as establishing a forensic unit.