Give the ACC more teeth

26 April 2019 | Opinion

In his budget statement last month, finance minister Calle Schlettwein indicated the need for a ruthless anti-corruption drive in both the public and private sectors. “It is one of the most immoral causes for inequality as it disproportionally benefits the few and harms the many.

“It creates elites or cliques. When self-interest reigns supreme with no ethics, a society without humanitarian values and compassion is formed, and the principles of social justice, equality and peace are lost,” Schlettwein stated in his 2019/20 budget statement.

The minister is right. Corruption remains enemy number one in Namibia and one of the biggest among all the challenges in our country.

Over the last few years we have seen an increase in corruption cases, and while some of them have ended up in courts and the culprits prosecuted, perceptions about the big fish getting off scot-free continue to linger.

The anti-graft body has only been allocated N$61.6 million in the current financial year to support activities to fight against corruption. The ACC this week argued that this money was not enough as it needs at least N$62.4 million just to fulfil its contractual obligations such as salaries and transport expenditure.

The budget allocation means that it will barely be in a position to pursue its two main mandates, which are to investigate allegations of corruption and to prevent corruption.

We understand that the nation is truly facing financial challenges. However, the underfunding of the ACC just further affirms that there appears to be a lack of political commitment to tackle graft, especially in the public service.

There is already what appears to be a slack attitude coupled by lax prosecution of glaring instances of corruption considering that dockets are piling up at the Office of the Prosecutor-General.

What Namibia needs is a well-funded ACC capable of preventing and effectively fighting corruption. Ruthlessly implementing a zero tolerance stance against corruption at all levels would be hindered if the ACC is not adequately funded.

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