Last week, the President Dr. Hage Geingob, gave his first state of the nation address and touched among other things the need for Namibians to shun corruption.
According to the President, Namibia needs to find an all-inclusive way of dealing with corruption. He proposes a solution that will see all Namibians playing their part in nipping the corruption cancer in the bud.
While Namibia does not rank badly when it comes to corrupt activities worldwide, it should be made public that even the smallest possible level of corruption is not good for the economy. It is even bad when such practices create a few millionaires while the rest of the people have to live in abject poverty because they are not.
“The Anti-Corruption Commission and the courts are only able to successfully prosecute cases of corruption if they have sufficient evidence. In this regard, I urge service providers to the Government, or any user of Government service to ensure that if he or she is asked for a bribe by a civil servant, not to oblige. Instead, please inform the Anti-Corruption Commission and provide them with the necessary evidence.
“Corruption requires a corrupter and a corrupted. Businesspeople that pay bribes and the civil servants who solicit or receive bribes are engaged in an evil which undermines our development and weakens the moral fiber of our society. A key requirement in preventing undue benefits accruing to Public Officials is preventing conflicts of interest and the disclosure of assets. The law does not require the President to disclose his personal assets. However, managing conflict of interest is a matter which requires political will. Therefore, I feel obliged to publicly declare my personal assets,” said Geingob.
“To this extent, I have engaged PriceWaterHouseCoopers Tax and Advisory Services (PWC) to assist me with an independent assessment of my assets. PWC will also assist me to prepare a financial disclosure report which I will disclose to the public in the second week of May 2015. For the sake of consistency, the First Lady will also disclose her personal assets, despite there being no legal requirement for her to do so. In the same vein of transparency, I will also release my medical health reports for public scrutiny. These disclosures will be made in line with the belief that transparency starts at the top. I am deeply convinced that accountability, transparency and inclusive leadership are “conditio sine quo non” for sustained socio-economic development and the improvement of the lives of all our people,” he said.
He also added that, “I trust you will ensure the timely and adequate disclosure of assets by Parliamentarians.
“I assure you and the Namibian nation that the Prime Minister will ensure that civil servants equally disclose all outside interests and sources of income.
“All Ministers and their Deputies will be required to issue Ministerial Declarations of Intent that will constitute a contract with the public on delivery to which they will be held accountable.”
Reading into these words one would concur that the President is on the mark when it comes to dealing with corruption. It is important that Namibians realise that Paulus Noa and his arch are not the only people responsible for fighting corruption in this country if Namibia is going to be a society where you do not need to know someone in the echelons of power to benefit from a simple tendering system.
Namibians also need to realise that the challenge is the rest of the country apportioning blame to Government about being reluctant to fight corruption while in reality it is the role of every right thinking Namibian to fight corruption.
It is also important to note that Government needs to have a sustainable budget set aside to fight such societal cancers.
We also need to realise that fighting corruption is not a one day issue. It will probably take longer to fight corruption if the Anti-Corruption Commission does not have the relevant finances in place.
The challenge that also needs to be addressed in future is that while the Ant- Corruption Commission has done a tremendous job in setting up and also working with whistleblower, they need to be assisted with even more money to improve their investigations. If the investigations are improved it also becomes easier for the courts to prosecute the culprits.