By: Justicia Shipena
The parliamentary standing committee on public accounts says despite sending out teams to investigate the financial books of local authorities or parastatals, nothing is done after finding that money was misappropriated or mismanaged.
This was revealed by the committee, which United Democratic Front’s (UDF) Dudu Murorua chairs through its member Vincent Mareka during a consultative meeting with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Thursday at parliament.
“What is the way forward? We cannot just year in and year out; come public accounts committee must send out teams to the regions to investigate the financial books of local authorities or parastatals, and nothing is happening,” said Mareka.
He stressed that this could not continue this way.
“Where are we heading to? Sometimes, somewhere these things must come to an end. Who is responsible for us to rectify this?” he questions.
While at the same meeting, auditor general Junias Kandjeke said on the civil court issue that auditor generals are faced with problems like this.
“The audits we report to parliament, the reports go to the committees to be viewed and then go back to parliament. I think the implementation and action are important,” he said.
Kandjeke stated that Namibia faces a challenge of implementation and action of those who have done wrong to book.
“It is time for us to develop our own system and combing systems. We cannot just say we are that system. We must come up with a system that is working for us,” he emphasised.
Hence, he said Namibia requires a court of accounts or civil court to deal with financial matters and other maladministration.
Adding that, the current system does not mention what should be done if one overspends.
“In our system, nothing says what should be done to you if you overspend. If you have not reconciled your books, what will happen to you? There is no action and punitive measure in the end; however, there is a law that is ignored, the public service act of 1995.”
Furthermore, ACC director general Paulus Noa stressed that when the ACC is not doing something, it is because it is outside its powers.
“Sometimes there is the power to do something, but we expect at the same time the authority to take civil litigation actions and recover the loss that has been done,” he said.
Noa said that if civil litigation actions are taken, a lot will be recovered from those mismanaging the public’s resources.
He added that sending people to jail for mismanaging the public’s resources is not a punishment.
“They are having three meals there, he comes out, and this person is boosting before you. What is punishment there? There is no punishment. The most effective punishment is chopping this person to their knees and recovering what the person has taken,” he lamented.
Noa said Namibians want a remedy for the damage that has been caused.
“They don’t want talk shops. They are not taking us anywhere as long as no recovery of the damage has been caused.”
He said there should be recovery and accountability.
“Those who are causing mismanagement of resources should be taken into account. I do not know to what extent the committee has some punitive power to hold the wrongdoers accountable,” said Noa.
He concluded that things should not remain business as usual regarding mismanagement of funds.
“Otherwise, this country will go down the drain; accountability should play a critical role.”