DTA lashes out at ACC for focusing on "small fish"

10 May 2017 07:30am
WINDHOEK, 10 MAY (NAMPA) – The DTA of Namibia has lashed out at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for targeting “small fish” and leaving politically connected individuals implicated in corrupt cases “under investigation”.
In a media statement on Tuesday, DTA Treasurer-General Nico Smit noted that earlier this month, a local daily carried the story of a Karibib Town Council property clerk arrested for alleged fraud of N.dollars 2 300 and another story regarding Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau being investigated for alleged corrupt activities.
“The two stories confirm the long held suspicions that when it comes to the more minor incidences of corruption, the ACC is exceptionally effective and efficient,” said Smit.
He said whenever a minister or other politically-connected individual is implicated in dubious dealings that have defrauded taxpayers of millions in public funds, these incidences remain “under investigation” until the public outcry dies a natural death over time.
Smit gave the example of the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) scandal, Social Security Commission and Avid Investment scandal and the recent Small and Medium Enterprises Bank scandal in which millions went missing.
“What has the role of the ACC been in investigating these cases?” he asked, adding it appears the commission’s investigation and prosecution capacity doubles when individuals who are not politically connected are implicated in scandals.
Smit said for the ACC to be truly effective as an anti-corruption agency, it needs to stop going after the “small fish” and prosecute the “big fish”.
“Without excluding the rest, it should not need saying that the ACC needs to target the most financially devastating cases of corruption,” he concluded.
According to a report in the Namibian newspaper, the ACC is investigating Esau over the allegedly illegal allocation of a 10 000 metric tonne horse mackerel quota to State-owned fishing company, Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor), which already holds hake fishing rights.
The report further elaborates on Esau’s appointment of the company’s board chairperson, who is also married to his daughter.