Letting the big fish swim

23 August 2019 | Columns

Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa has opened a Pandora's Box, following her revelations this week that any hopes of Namibia recovering the over N$600 million lost in the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) scandal are misplaced. The admission comes 10 years after a police case was opened to recover the money that was swindled from the GIPF via loans granted through its defunct Development Capital Portfolio (DCP) to several local companies, some of whom had little or no business track record.

The brutal truth is that the money dished out as loans many years ago is unrecoverable and has been lost to the country for good. How pathetic!

This worrying trend and failure to prosecute high-level corruption again serves to highlight how powerful and politically-connected figures act with brazen impunity.

The GIPF saga is also a firm acknowledgement that anti-corruption bodies have failed to discharge their mandate in this country. In 2016, police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga said he was convinced that some companies and individuals will be prosecuted. Ndeitunga said at the time the police had concluded investigations into some of the dockets and were awaiting a decision from the Office of the Prosecutor-General.

It is now very easy to understand why public trust in bodies entrusted to tackle the scourge of corruption, including the Office of the Ombudsman, Anti-Corruption Commission and the Namibian police, is waning. It has now been proven time and again that those in power are unable to demonstrate the political will to tackle corruption at the top.

The Office of the Prosecutor-General is a very important institution that is crucial when it comes to dealing with impunity.

This requires not only an effective but independent law-enforcement task team.

The GIPF saga has caused, potentially, irreparable damage to public trust and it will take some time for the country's chief prosecutor to regain the trust she has now completely lost.

The public is, rightfully, aghast.

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