NDF a breeding ground for corruption: Smit

19 Feb 2018 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 19 FEB (NAMPA) - The secretive operations of the Namibia Defence Force’s business wing and lack of accountability to Parliament has made the NDF untouchable and has created room for rampant corruption.
This is according to Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) treasurer general, Nico Smit.
Speaking to the media on the NDF’s purchase of Farm Oropoko northwest of Okahandja for N.dollars 45 million, Smit said the farm is a liability to the taxpayer.
“It is clear that from being a nett earner for Namibia, it has now, in the hands of the NDF become a nett consumer as the taxpayer will be expected to pay for the maintenance,” he said.
The Ministry of Defence has said the farm will be used to train soldiers to live in harmony with wildlife and practise their shooting skills. It also has an airfield which the NDF intends to transform into a military airport.
Another issue of concern for PDM is that unlike other parastatals, the NDF subsidiary August 26 is not audited by the Auditor General, nor does it account to Parliament.
Smit said all government institutions and ministries are accountable to Parliament as the highest law in the land, and not Cabinet.
“It is becoming clearer by the day that the NDF, by means of its carte blanche ticket from Cabinet, is the main driver of corruption in Namibia because there are absolutely no checks and balances in their activities. The NDF clearly sees itself as above the laws and the constitution of Namibia,” he said.
Smit said the mere fact that President Hage Geingob – the commander in chief of the NDF – was unaware of the farm’s acquisition until it was reported in the media meant that the NDF is now “out of control”.
Speaking at the opening of Cabinet recently, Geingob argued that there was no urgency to buy a farm and hoped the reports were not true.
These remarks come at a time when the NDF sent thousands of its troops on paid leave because it cannot afford to house and feed them and foot its water and electricity bill.
According to the PDM, the money could have been better spent to address social issues such as buying school textbooks, the maintenance of schools, medicine and housing.