Anti-corruption commission will not be ready this year

Anti-corruption commission will not be ready this year

THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), as envisaged by the Anti-Corruption Act (Act 8 of 2003) cannot be constituted before the National Assembly and National Council have approved the appointees, which could push the process back to the end of this year, Prime Minister Nahas Angula said yesterday.

As such, he did not expect the ACC to become operational before the end of the year, Angula said in a wide-ranging interview on the subject yesterday. Even though the Act itself had been gazetted two years ago, it was only signed into law in March this year after he took office, Angula explained.He said that an initial plan to simply make a political appointment was abandoned after it became clear that the ACC and its officers would have to be as autonomous as possible.”We wanted to make sure that we will appoint the right kind of persons with the right kind of qualifications,” Angula said.The ideal candidate would have a legal qualification, as well as practical experience in preferably prosecutorial work.Such a person should also have an unblemished record and “be of good social standing” in order for the public to have trust in the office of the ACC, he stressed.”We need someone who can make a proper judgement call” on cases brought to the office of the ACC, he said.”Such a person must be above political influence” and not be influenced by outside political agendas, he stressed.In terms of the Anti-Corruption Act (section 7), such a person must also declare all assets and liabilities to the OPM, as well as all outside interests.The Director may also not be involved in the daily running of any business, be involved in the management of any political party or be a salaried employee of any other institution.In terms of Section 4 (1) the Act, the Director and Deputy Director are appointed by parliament upon nomination by the President.Section 5 of the Act determines that only Namibians who are not members of the National Council or National Assembly, and who have not been declared bankrupt or convicted of any crime of dishonesty (other than political ones prior to Independence) would be eligible for this position.To that end, the Office of the Prime Minister had advertised the posts of Director and Deputy Director some time ago, with applications closing about three weeks ago.Some 20 applications have been received for the position of Director, while more than 30 people applied for the position of Deputy Director, Angula said.A small committee has been appointed to review all the applications, and will now start interviewing all candidates who applied, he said.With the National Assembly resuming on September 20, the Office of the Prime Minister hoped to have recommendations – to be submitted first to the Office of the President – for these positions ready by the end of the month.As for the budget for the ACC, Angula said the amount of N$2,5 million set aside should be adequate for setting up shop.The ACC could also, if its caseload demanded more resources, apply for outside donor funding to support its activities, he said.”It is quite late in the year, the budget is for 12 months, so it should be enough to set up shop with,” he said.”But I do not expect anything dramatic to happen before the end of the year.”Once set up, the ACC could start making its presence known to the public, while aggrieved parties could still lodge cases with the Office of the Ombudsman for referral to the ACC, he said.Angula also promised that no one accused of corruption could expect political protection, as opposition parties have often feared could end up being the case.”As for the Office of the Prime Minister – at least for as long as I am here – I am not in the habit of protecting [those accused of] wrongdoing,” he said.”If you do that, you become an accomplice to the crime.”* John Grobler is a freelance journalist; 081 240 1587Even though the Act itself had been gazetted two years ago, it was only signed into law in March this year after he took office, Angula explained.He said that an initial plan to simply make a political appointment was abandoned after it became clear that the ACC and its officers would have to be as autonomous as possible.”We wanted to make sure that we will appoint the right kind of persons with the right kind of qualifications,” Angula said.The ideal candidate would have a legal qualification, as well as practical experience in preferably prosecutorial work.Such a person should also have an unblemished record and “be of good social standing” in order for the public to have trust in the office of the ACC, he stressed.”We need someone who can make a proper judgement call” on cases brought to the office of the ACC, he said.”Such a person must be above political influence” and not be influenced by outside political agendas, he stressed. In terms of the Anti-Corruption Act (section 7), such a person must also declare all assets and liabilities to the OPM, as well as all outside interests.The Director may also not be involved in the daily running of any business, be involved in the management of any political party or be a salaried employee of any other institution.In terms of Section 4 (1) the Act, the Director and Deputy Director are appointed by parliament upon nomination by the President.Section 5 of the Act determines that only Namibians who are not members of the National Council or National Assembly, and who have not been declared bankrupt or convicted of any crime of dishonesty (other than political ones prior to Independence) would be eligible for this position.To that end, the Office of the Prime Minister had advertised the posts of Director and Deputy Director some time ago, with applications closing about three weeks ago.Some 20 applications have been received for the position of Director, while more than 30 people applied for the position of Deputy Director, Angula said.A small committee has been appointed to review all the applications, and will now start interviewing all candidates who applied, he said.With the National Assembly resuming on September 20, the Office of the Prime Minister hoped to have recommendations – to be submitted first to the Office of the President – for these positions ready by the end of the month.As for the budget for the ACC, Angula said the amount of N$2,5 million set aside should be adequate for setting up shop.The ACC could also, if its caseload demanded more resources, apply for outside donor funding to support its activities, he said.”It is quite late in the year, the budget is for 12 months, so it should be enough to set up shop with,” he said.”But I do not expect anything dramatic to happen before the end of the year.”Once set up, the ACC could start making its presence known to the public, while aggrieved parties could still lodge cases with the Office of the Ombudsman for referral to the ACC, he said.Angula also promised that no one accused of corruption could expect political protection, as opposition parties have often feared could end up being the case.”As for the Office of the Prime Minister – at least for as long as I am here – I am not in the habit of protecting [those accused of] wrongdoing,” he said.”If you do that, you become an accomplice to the crime.”* John Grobler is a freelance journalist; 081 240 1587

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News