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ACC Dropping Cases Won’t Harm Public Confidence – Noa

By: Justicia Shipena

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) director-general Paulus Noa says the 73 dropped cases by the ACC will not reduce the public’s confidence in the entity.

This comes as the anti-graft agency dropped 73 out of 120 corruption cases reported between March 2020 and March 2021 because of unfounded claims.

According to Noa, reporting to the ACC does not necessarily mean that it will eventually find its way to a criminal court.

“And we don’t see that one is affecting the public’s confidence in the work of ACC,” he said.

He said the ACC was established to take cases to the prosecutor general with sufficient evidence or close the file where there is no evidence.

Noa stressed that ACC is not a witch hunt body.

“We are an institution established by law, and we do things accordingly to the law.”

In an interview with The Villager, Noa added that there are cases where the complaint received does not contain sufficient information on whether it’s a case of corruption or not.

“In that particular matter, you have to conduct a preliminary investigation to establish whether there is a merit for a full investigation,” he said.

Noa stated that one might find reasonable grounds for corruption in some cases.

Adding that after investigations, one may find the evidence sufficient for the case to be referred to the prosecutors general.

“In some cases, one may find there are no merits of corruption at all, and as a result, you have to close that case,” he adds.

The dropped cases were revealed in the ACC annual report for the 2020/21 financial year that was released two weeks ago.

The report shows that the cases dropped were abuse of power, tender and recruitment irregularities, bribery, and abuse of public resources, amongst others.

The information shows that the ACC declined 64 out of the 73 cases closed due to a lack of evidence to launch investigations.

While seven were declined because of unfounded allegations. However, only two were referred to the prosecutor general’s office.

According to ACC, during the same period, 50 cases from previous years were embarked for investigation, with 14 closed due to lack of evidence.

Earlier this year, during the launch of the national ACC strategy and action plan for 2021-2025, Noa said the ACC has trouble investigating visible theft in terms of corruption.

He also stressed that it takes courage for one of them to come forward and provide the relevant information.

Previously he also said from ACC’s inception in 2006 until March 2021, the commission has submitted 694 cases to the office of the Prosecutor-General.

Noa, at that time, said the prosecutor general had thus far decided to prosecute a total of 530 cases.

Of the 530 corruption cases, 76 per cent of these cases have already been finalised.

Meanwhile, during the commemoration of International Anti-Corruption Day in December last year, ACC said it has observed a decline in corruption cases reported to the entity.

This was revealed by ACC chief investigation officer Phelem Masule who said in 2017/18, there were 325 corruption cases reported, and in 2018/19, ACC received 313 cases.

During the 2019/20 period, the cases came down to 187, and 2020/21 period, 120 cases were reported.

He also said the decline did not necessarily mean there was no corruption.




Justicia Shipena

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