ACC faces Malema backlash

28 February 2020 | Local News

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is facing a backlash that includes a seething tweet from Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema, over it summonsing South African advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi to submit a statement explaining a N$50 000 payment he received in 2018 from state-owned company Fishcor.

“If Namibia wants to be taken seriously, it should stop the interference with lawyers through fake news and harassment. Tembeka Ngcukaitobi should do his work in Namibia without fear or favour,” Malema tweeted on Wednesday.

The law firm whose instructions Ngcukaitobi is acting on in the Fishrot matter also released a statement yesterday in which it criticised the “brazen” and “monumental” flouting of the rule of law and “wanton” abuse of its powers by ACC deputy director general Erna van der Merwe.

According to Lucius Murorua from MKK Inc. Attorneys, who speaks on behalf of Ngcukaitobi, he was allegedly “cornered” in the High Court chambers by Van der Merwe.

“During the said discussion, Van der Merwe attempted to intimidate Ngcukaitobi by making insidious, false comments that the ACC is “aware” of certain payments that he received in 2018 from Fischor. She further stated that she did not want to make an issue of it, provided that he agrees to cooperate with ACC,” the law firm's statement said

Murorua added that Van der Merwe was, however, unable to provide proof of the said payments, claiming it was in their office and would be provided in due course.

According to the law firm, the N$50 000 had nothing to do with Fishcor, but was instead an honorarium payment which came from government to all speakers and resource persons at the country's second national land conference held in November 2018.

Ngcukaitobi delivered a presentation titled 'Perspective on land reform process within a constitutional democracy' at the conference.

This was confirmed by a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister which stated that Fishcor was one of the state-owned enterprises that assisted with financial assistance for the land conference. The letter, issued by secretary to Cabinet, George Simataa, apologised to Ngcukaitobi on behalf of the Namibian government.

“When Fishcor donated the money to the second land conference in October 2018, it was not known that this company was involved in the alleged bribery and corruption scandal,” the statement said. When called for comment, Van der Merwe said she is too busy to give an interview to the media.

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