ACC recruitment shenanigans exposed
03 September 2020 | Justice
An urgent application by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigator Phelem Masule against Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, who has set aside his promotion as chief investigator, will be heard in the High Court today. Court documents show that Ananias Iyambo, who scored the highest in the job interview, should have been disqualified because he had submitted an incomplete application. Masule's promotion was set aside after Iyambo had laid a complaint with the ACC over Masule's promotion. Iyambo denied that he had submitted an incomplete application. According to the court documents Iyambo was allowed to submit a copy of his driver's licence after the closing date, while two other candidates were disqualified because they had failed to submit their Namibia Qualification Authority (NQA) documentation.
Eventually the second highest scorer, Masule, was recommended for the position. Masule has been working at the ACC since 2006.
Masule lodged an urgent application in the High Court against Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila's decision to “strip” him of his promotion to chief of investigations and prosecutions at the anti-graft agency. Recommendations by the Public Service Commission (PSC) had endorsed his promotion.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila stated in her answering affidavit that she only became aware of this appointment when Iyambo laid his complaint after Masule had been appointed.
She then requested documents relating to the recruitment process and submitted these to cabinet secretary George Simataa for his consideration.
In his response, Simataa concluded that the ACC's recruitment process should be declared null and void because they had deviated from their own requirements and conditions when they allowed applicants with incomplete documentation to submit documents after the closing date.
According to him, that rendered the entire process unfair and unlawful.
Simataa pointed out that in terms of the Public Service Act the prime minister must engage President Hage Geingob to endorse or reject the PSC's recommendation.
“However, as good practice it is advisable that the prime minister may wish to first consult with the chairperson of the PSC,” he said.
In her affidavit the prime minister said she had consulted with PSC chairperson Markus Kampungu, requesting that the commission reconsider its recommendation to promote Masule.
Kampungu responded that the PSC was advised in 2015 that it could not change its recommendations once they have been relayed to the person in question.
The subsequent decision to set aside Masule's promotion was informed by legal advice from the Office of the Attorney-General, the prime minister said.
“I confirm that I retain the position I had adopted in those letters. My position was not informed by any personal considerations,” she said.