By: Kelvin Chiringa
According to director general Paulus Noa, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) now wants documentary proof of the money recovered from officials that embezzled N$1.2 million from the National Assembly.
The ACC said it would be serving National Assembly secretary, Lydia Kandetu, with a summons which will be the first step into what may turn out to be a full-scale investigation into claims that the NA protected thieves by not reporting their crimes.
“What we are intending to do now is to serve a letter to the secretary of the National Assembly to provide us with details surrounding the allegations. We are going to demand that she provides us with details and also proof of money that has been recovered from the officials.
“We need to establish how much each suspected official has paid back and whether that money is equivalent to the amount that is suspected to have been misappropriated. I must commend the secretary to cabinet for that action (of recovery),” said Noa.
Kandetu has been quoted by The Villager as saying that reporting such cases to the ACC was a waste of money; as such, they avoided the anti-grant agency.
“When these things are happening, if you report to the police, the person will go to jail. At the end of the day, you involve lawyers. The government ends up paying a lot of money to lawyers, and then the court might find the person guilty, but in the end, the government ends up losing out. We did not call in the ACC. We reported to the police in one case, but in the other cases, we did not because we had a reason,” Kandetu said.
The NA has come under fire for admitting to the theft of public funds only after ex-mayor, Dr Job Amupanda, dropped the bombshell in the public domain.
However, Noa expressed doubt the NA deliberately opted not to report the matter to the ACC but said a thorough investigation should bring everything to light.
But will the ACC investigate the National Assembly for possible protection of the culprits?
Said Noa, “The letter detailing the allegations against the officials definitely will speak to whether there was some kind of protection or not because for now, we can not really conclude that a certain leader was trying to protect an official.”
“Details will speak for themselves, and details will direct us on whether there was some form of protection or not, and based on that, we will decide whether there is a need for a full-scale corruption investigation. That entails investigations against any other person we think is an accomplice.”
Although the National Council also came out to explain that it caught wind of irregular payments, which it reported to the Attorney General, the police and the ACC, Noa said there is no proof on his table that such a report was made.
“When it comes to the National Council, what I have on the system is a report, but that report has to do with corruption allegations pertaining to recruitment. That was conclusively investigated. We found that there were no irregularities in the manner the recruitment process was undertaken. If there is another case which we do not have on the system, then definitely they can come forward and provide you with a copy of that,” he said.
Both government institutions have not disclosed the names of the culprits behind the theft, nor have they produced evidence of police cases being opened.
This has led to the director at the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), Graham Hopwood and political and public policy analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah concluding that they are both complicit in the corruption cover-up.