NDF promotions 'corrupt'

Disgruntled soldiers have urged the court-martialling of corrupt officers who are promoting their relatives, children, friends and lovers.

12 October 2018 | Government

The Namibian Defence Force (NDF) is allegedly paying hordes of soldiers holding the same position in the staff structure, and who are shadowing those legitimately in these posts.

There are also swirling allegations of illegal promotions, ahead of more deserving members.

Disgruntled members of the NDF's 26th Brigade at Grootfontein and 263rd Battalion at Oshakati have claimed “systemic corruption” in the force's promotion policy.

They say this policy is currently costing the government a lot of money.

Members who studied the recent promotion list, effective from 1 February, said they found that some members who were nominated for promotion by their unit staff officers were removed from the list by battalion commanders and replaced with non-deserving members.

The NDF would neither confirm nor deny these allegations.

The defence ministry, however, said defence force chief, Major-General John Mutwa, would launch an investigation and act upon the findings.

A letter seen by Namibian Sun, addressed to defence minister Penda Ya Ndakolo, claims some senior members have created a loopholes for unfair promotion, which sees soldiers being promoted to fill positions that are structurally and physically already occupied.

The ministry is reportedly paying up to ten people in a position that is designed just for one person.

The disgruntled members also exposed that a recent payroll verification conducted by the defence ministry verified that promotions within the force are milking the government, in the sense that many members are occupying positions meant for one person.

They are therefore requesting Ndakolo to order Mutwa to court-martial the corrupt officers.

According to the NDF promotion policy, the promotions board should consist of company commanders, the adjutant, some staff officers, including intelligence officers, and two battalion commanders.

“The promotion policy is not being followed and this is caused by the lack or unwillingness by some commanders at all the levels to constitute promotion committees or boards in their formations and units. It has created deep loopholes for rampant promotions based on fraud, forgery and uttering,” a source said.

“The system is being ignored intentionally for the corrupt commanders to promote their favoured members, the majority of whom are being transferred from different departments, divisions, platoons or sections to fill positions that are already occupied.”

The source said currently the company commanders and division and section heads only provide the names of those to be promoted to the office of the adjutants.

The adjutants, chief clerk and commanding officers then start dealing with the promotions on their own.

“Staff officers who have these personnel working under them can submit names of the deserving hardworking and capable members for promotions, but these lists are being manipulated and replaced with names of their relatives, children, friends and lovers. Only after promotion one will find out that none of those who were nominated for promotion have made it through,” the source added.

“Their names are being removed and replaced with members from other divisions or units, and sometimes they do not even have experience in those units, and they are just being promoted for the sake of the rank and remain shadows of the post occupants.”





The irked members said this is being done to deceive the brigade commander, so he can sign fraudulent promotion lists which are an offence contrary to the Defence Act 2002 and military disciplinary code, section 30.

It was exposed that due to the past eight years of promotions, ten warrant officers, 11 staff sergeants and 18 sergeants are occupying three positions at the 26th Brigade, while eight warrant officers, nine staff sergeants and 12 corporals occupying three positions at the 263rd Battalion.

When contacted for comment, defence ministry's spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Petrus Shilumbu said the ministry was not aware of the allegations.

“The defence ministry is not aware of these complaints. The norm is that complaints are channelled through the chain of command to the relevant authorities. Promotion and posting is done according to the established structure,” Shilumbu said.

“There also other relevant bodies, such as the defence inspectorate and military police, to investigate these allegations and keep management informed in order for them to take informed decisions. The authority has taken the allegations very seriously and the chief of the defence force will detail an internal investigation and will act upon the outcome.”

ILENI NANDJATO

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