Windhoek - Namibia has intensified its efforts in combating corruption with the appointment of integrity officers in various government ministries and agencies with the aim of weeding out malpractices in the public procurement system.
The integrity officers are expected to be the sniffer dogs of corruption in the Namibian government system and will be reporting directly to executive directors. They are deployed in ministries, as well as regional offices.
The recently appointed integrity officers, director of the Namibian Anti-Corruption Commission, Paulus Noa said, have a significant task in making sure there is smooth public service delivery in the civil service as well as flagging out unethical and corrupt practices by government officials.
While acknowledging that rooting out graft in Namibia’s civil service and public procurement remains the country’s herculean challenge, Noa said Namibia was doing pretty well as compared to other African countries.
“Corruption and unethical conduct have been recognised as a significant development challenge in the 21st century. These challenges continue to pose severe threats to the delivery of services by the state. Corruption and lack of integrity undermine government efforts to achieve key national development goals,” he said.
He said the Namibian government would rely heavily on the recently set up integrity committees to implement the anti-corruption road map and also make sure the country ranks well in the fight against corruption in the world and among its African peers.
“The respect that we get as a country from other African colleagues on our efforts so far is commendable. Now imagine if we can do more in combating the challenge of corruption, we can only get better. We all admire countries like Malaysia and Australia when it comes to fighting graft but if we put our efforts in this we have a good chance of surpassing that and get our own credit as Namibia,” said Noa.
Although the Namibian anti-graft boss believes they are making progress in combating corruption, the country continues to suffer from a very poor prosecution rate for the reported cases or at least those that make it past the prosecutor-general’s office.
According to the last released annual report for the Anti-Corruption Commission between 2017-2018, since its inception the ACC has submitted 587 cases to the prosecutor-general and 41 percent of those are still in the courts while 66 percent were finalised with conviction.
Among the cases so far in the judicial system, about 15 percent of them could not be prosecuted as the prosecutor-general’s office refused to prosecute for various reasons, in most cases lack of evidence and the need to further investigate.