PG declines to prosecute 67 ACC cases

The prosecutor general has declined to prosecute 67 of the Anti-Corruption Commission’s 142 cases due to a lack of substance, among others.

It has succeeded to investigate 66 cases.

This was revealed in the ACC’s 2023 report, tabled in parliament recently.

“Some 66 cases were investigated, 67 were declined for a variety of reasons, including a lack of substance, vague information, and/or unfounded allegations,” the report reads.

The ACC finalised 86 out of 327 backlogged cases, the report states.

The anti-graft body says most reported forms of corruption relate to the abuse of power, bribery, the abuse of public resources, value-added tax, tender irregularities and irregularities in recruitment.

“Whistleblowers continued mainly reporting cases of the abuse of power, with 57% of corruption reports in the 2022/23 financial year attesting to this fact,” the report reads.

Furthermore, half of 22 corruption-related cases were finalised in court, resulting in acquittal or withdrawal.

“Of these 22 cases, 11 resulted in conviction. Of these 11 convicted cases, in two cases the accused persons were given imprisonment, while nine received fines or jail sentences. Meanwhile, the other 11 cases resulted in acquittal/withdrawal,” the ACC says.

Recently, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) has found that the ACC “has a mixed record of performance and appears more capable of dealing with less powerful people”.

The APRM’s assessment follows meetings with the executive, judiciary and legislature, as well as civil society and private sector representatives across all 14 regions of Namibia.

“Many Namibians who engaged with the review team considered the procurement system as rigged in favour of the powerful, the educated, well-connected and willing givers, and does not genuinely promote competitiveness, transparency and fairness,” the report states.

These observations are echoed by local analysts and commentators for a lack of willpower to hold “powerful and influential” members of society to account.

“The panel also recommends that decisions on whether or not to prosecute cases of corruption should be made by officials who are protected from undue pressure.”

The APRM noted the public loss of confidence, making it difficult for the ACC to perform its duties effectively, weakening efforts to fight corruption and money laundering.

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