By: Eba Kandovazu
The anti-graft agency’s boss Paulus Noa has thanked National Assembly Secretary Lydia Kandetu for blocking the pensions of three former employees who are accused of stealing over N$ 1.2 million from parliament.
The employees, who have since left their jobs, have left parliament with accusations of covering up corruption by failing to report the theft to the Anti-Corruption Commission. Parliament two weeks ago came under fire after former Windhoek Mayor Job Amupanda made public the alleged crime.
Noa confirmed that his office was not made aware of such a crime until Amupanda announced it on social media. According to him, he has given Kandetu until Friday to provide a full report on the matter. He says that although Kandetu failed to report the issue to his office, she did a good job by blocking the culprits’ pension to recover the lost money, an action he says other public entities should follow.
Asked whether or not Kandetu has the mandate to do this, he said she is allowed to do so by taking administrative action. However, he explained that it is unclear at the moment how the money was stolen, saying the report would make everything clear.
A statement previously issued by parliament said it did not cover up corruption nor condone it. It added that they were on a “mission to fight corruption and remain an institution of integrity”.
“The allegations levelled against the institution are devoid of any truth and only seek to mislead the public,” the statement reads.
Parliament also said it would recover the money from the culprits’ leave pay-outs. Although parliament says it detected financial irregularities, Noa says the term is broad. However, he said that just because the accused persons resigned from their jobs does not mean they are confirming their guilt, saying he is unsure.
“When parliament found that there had been irregularities, the suspects resigned and decided Kandetu decided to take these people’s pensions. That is why I wrote to her and thanked her for making this decision. That is taxpayers’ money, so she is making sure that money is returned. I am waiting for Kandetu to give me a full report by Friday. That will give us a clear picture of whether or not the ACC may investigate or whether or not she can deal with the matter herself. I’ve also asked her to confirm if she indeed stopped the culprits’ pension. We will have all the answers by Friday,” Noa said.
Noa also said he is not sure how many the suspects are involved or the exact amount that was stolen from parliament.