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Noa responds to petition

The Anti-Corruption Commission director-general Paulus Noa has responded to the petition handed over by activists in November demanding answers on 14 cases of corruption.

There were two demonstrations carried out in Windhoek over corruption with the latest one done on 9 December and was led by activist Dimbulukeni Nauyoma.

In both petitions, the demonstrators demanded that Noa should resign because he has failed.

Responding to the call for him to resign, Noa said that the ACC was a creature of law and that everything including the appointment and termination of the director-general is done according to the Anti-Corruption Act.

The Anti-Corruption Commission, Noa said, does not perform its function from a vacuum and that each action must be guided by the provision of the Act and nit by public morals or political emotions.

The 3000-word plus document t cites 14 acts of corruption which the petitioners demanded answers to. These are the N$600m GIPF missing funds, N$36m paid to UK-based genocide lawyers, N$23m Kora money, N$3 billion mass housing programme, N$1 billion to construct the Office of the Prime Minister, Home Affairs Foreign Accounts, millions lost at the Ministry of Justice, N$360m Namibia Airports Company tender, over 70 contracts approved by AMTA, some worth 50 million and the overpayment in salaries, the case of George Simataa when he was the works permanent secretary, investigations into the former energy and mines minister Orbeth Kandjoze on NAMDIA, N$5,5 billion oil storage facility, N$7 billion Xaris Energy and Katrina Hanse-Himarwa’s case where she resettled her son.

N$600m GIPF money

Noa said the ACC never investigated the N$600m GIPF case and was not privy to the evidence collected and the outcome of the investigation.

“Your demand can only be attributed to ignorance of the ACC law or ulterior motives known to yourself and your team. You may wish to approach the relevant offices of the entity (GIPF) which borrowed money to the borrowers (unlisted companies), to demand the list of the borrowers, how much was borrowed to each borrower, the conditions that were attached to the lending, which entities have since paid back and how much is still outstanding. Your conclusion that a total amount of N$600 million is missing maybe a mere misconception fueled by lack of verified information,” Noa said.

He added that Nauyoma may as well wish to know whether GIPF instituted a civil lawsuit against the defaulting parties, like any other financial institution that has loaned the money would do.

“GIPF is not living on an island. It has a Board of Trustees and a CEO whom you can approach for relevant information. Alternatively, you may wish to approach the investigating institutions which conducted criminal investigations and demand explanation, if you are not satisfied with the explanation already given to the public.

“Marching to ACC to demand answers on this matter when you ought to know the offices that gave feedback on the investigation findings can only exhibit your ulterior agenda,” Noa further said.

N$36m Genocide payment

Noa said that it defies logic that ACC must be accused of not investigating the case of UK-based lawyers after authorities decided to pay the money and no prima facie case has been launched with ACC.

He said the ACC had initiated its own investigation into the matter and that he wrote to the minister of international relations seeking answers. According to Noa, they also wrote to the finance minister Calle Schlettwein to explain why he had paid the lawyers if he had the suspicion of corrupt practices.

Schlettwein, Noa said, responded saying that it was the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Overall Priorities and Policies and that he had authorized the payment in his capacity as the minister of finance.

When UK-based lawyers instituted lawsuits in UK Court demanding payment from the Government of Namibia, Noa explained, neither Schlettwein nor any person in a position of authority filed a notice of intention to defend the matter on grounds of suspicions of corruption resulting in the granting of default judgement.

“The Government through the Ministry of Finance eventually paid the bill including millions of dollars in interests. To date, neither the Minister of Finance nor any person has approached ACC to provide a statement under oath implicating the UK lawyers involved in the Genocide matter,” he added.

Noa denied that the ACC was blocking any investigation into the matter since the file remains on hold pending evidence that may reasonably warrant an investigation.

According to Noa, Nauyoma may approach Schlettwein and demand an explanation as to why he paid the money and why no complaint statement has ever been lodged with the ACC.

N$23m Kora Awards Money

According to Noa, the Kora case is a civil matter since the Kora agreement on breach says that if any party fails to remedy any breach within five days after receiving a written notice, the aggrieved shall immediately cancel the agreement of claim immediate specific performance and in each case with or without claiming damages.

He, however, said that the ACC had opened a docket and conducted a preliminary investigation and was furnished with all documents including the signed Contract/Agreement between Namibia Tourism Board (NTB).

“This is a civil contract entered between the two competent parties. ACC has no legal power to intervene in civil matters between parties unless there is proof of intentional criminal corruption being perpetrated in the course of entering into such Agreement, where public money or pubic institution or public officer is involved.

“To date, ACC has no such evidence. Mere perceived negligence in the manner certain clauses of the Agreement or Contract were crafted is not conclusive proof of corruption. Corruption must be proven by evidence,” he added, advising Nauyoma to approach NTB or the environment ministry and demand explanation.

Since NTB has a governing body, Noa said, it can subject the management to disciplinary measures for administrative wrongdoings, if at all there were any administrative wrongdoings committed, in the form of negligence.

Hanse-Himarwa Farm sale to son

Noa said the ACC is not investigating allegations of Katrina Hanse-Himarwa selling a farm to her son but that there is a case of favouritism in resettling of the former minister’s son.

The case, according to Noa, has been referred to the prosecutor general for decision and as such, the ACC cannot share the details.

N$3 billion Mass Housing Programme

“We have no such case registered with ACC.  You may come and provide ACC with an affidavit if you have evidence or information relevant to the allegations of N$3 billion mass housing program corruption,” Noa said.

N$1 billion tender for Office of PM

Regarding this issue, Noa denied ever hearing about it and invited Nauyoma to furnish him with a statement under oath.

“We would want to know how corruption was committed and who are the suspects and what they did, how they directly or indirectly benefitted from the tender,” Noa said.

Home Affairs Foreign Accounts

“We are not aware of corruption involving Home Affairs Foreign Accounts.  We are, however, aware that the media reported about unaccounted money of Home Affairs Foreign Accounts.  Our preliminary investigations revealed the contrary findings.

“All financial documents furnished to ACC from the Embassies that were mentioned were submitted to the Office of Auditor-General. It appears one of your sources is media reports without verifying the information. We are not in the position to explain to you why the Office of the Auditor-General was not furnished with the same documents when they were conducting an audit,” he explained.

Millions Lost at the Ministry of Justice

Although Noa denied any corruption at the justice ministry, he said the ACC was aware of cases where money was deposited into individuals’ accounts, which is not considered as corruption in terms of the Act but rather non-compliance with Treasury Rules and State Finance Act.

“In respect of the specific cases that we are aware of, the responsible officials did not benefit from the money or receive any gratification and service providers received their full payments.”

N$360 Million Tender at NAC

“Whereas we cannot confirm the amount cited (360 million), we are aware of the NAC corrupt practices allegations ACC had investigated. The docket has been submitted to the Prosecutor-General for a decision. The Office of the Prosecutor-General is yet to decide on the matter.  You may wish to approach the Office of Prosecutor-General and demand a response.  We do not understand what you and your team mean by that got a silent death,” he said.

Over 70 Contracts approved by AMTA

“We cannot make sense from this demand. The mere approval by AMTA and overpayment in salaries do not constitute corrupt practices in terms of the Anti-Corruption Act, unless so proven. AMTA has a governing body with a responsibility to ensure that administrative errors are appropriately corrected, and if need be officials who authorized overpayment are charged for misconducts and negligence. Line Ministries have responsibilities over public enterprises. This power is not extended to ACC in the law. ACC is a criminal investigation agency and not an administrative body.”

The Case of George Simataa as works permanent secretary ‘

 “I am not privy to the case of George Simataa you are referring to.  I am not aware of a case under investigation against George Simataa.  If you have specific information or evidence about corrupt practices in which George Simataa is involved, we urge you to come to ACC offices and report such allegations. ACC may, upon receipt of such statement, decide to investigate.  In compliance with Audi Alteram Partem principle, George Simataa whom you are referring to will also be approached to respond to your allegations. We are resolute to leave no stone unturned, provided we are furnished with leading evidence on the allegations.”

Investigations into Minister Kandjoze on NAMDIA

“For your information, ACC initiated an investigation into the matter. The Minister was summoned by way of a letter to respond and explain listed questions relating to the allegations.  The Diamond Act, 1999 confers powers to the Minister to appoint the Government Valuator.  No procedure for the appointment as provided for in the law.  Laws are enacted by Parliament and ACC has neither inherent power nor constitutional power to override any law.

“I urge you to come forward and present the evidence.  ACC shall gladly pursue the investigation.  At present ACC has no evidence implicating Honourable Kandjoze in this matter by virtue of exercising his powers to appoint an evaluator. This, however, does not mean he can no longer be investigated if evidence comes to surface that he corruptly misused the powers conferred to him as then Minister of Mines and Energy when he appointed the Government Evaluator. It is a matter of evidence which ACC does not have now.”

N$5,5 billion – Oil Storage

“ACC confirms that the case of Oil Storage is under investigation.  Members of the Technical Committee as well as some members of the Ministerial Committee including Members of the Cabinet Committee on Treasury were already served with summons to appear before ACC to be questioned and give statements under oath on their involvement and role they played to ensure that specifications are complied with and the contractor does not financially disadvantage Government. There are few others who are yet to be summoned to appear, questioned and provide statements under oath. The investigation is at an advanced stage and will soon be submitted to the Prosecutor-General with recommendations to criminally charge those responsible for corrupt financial damage to Government in this tender.

N$7 billion Xaris Energy

This case is under investigation by ACC.

“If you have evidence about N$7 billion you have to come forward and present evidence in that regard.  We would want to know to whom the N$7 billion was paid. Our docket is at the stage where it must be prepared for submission to PG.  Your evidence about N$7 billion will be needed before the submission of the docket.”

Nauyoma is yet to respond to an SMS sent Wednesday regarding Noa’s response.

Wonder Guchu

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