Simataa dismisses IPPR report on spying claims

13 Jun 2019 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 13 JUN (NAMPA) – Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Stanley Simataa has dismissed a report by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) that said government acquired sophisticated equipment from the United Kingdom to spy on citizens.
Simataa was speaking on Thursday at a media briefing on Cabinet decisions taken Tuesday when he addressed the IPPR report.
IPPR released a report on Tuesday that said the Namibian government spent between N.dollars 1.2 and N.dollars 1.5 billion to purchase spying equipment through the Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) from a UK-based company between January and September 2008.
Simataa said government values research and will continue to value it. He said government does not want to condemn research outcomes, provided it is credible research, but questioned the method used by IPPR to obtain information about the purchase of equipment by NCIS because no one from the institution approached the ministry to verify the information.
“I wonder if they considered the law of NCIS because they are not working in a vacuum, they have laws that are guiding them, and no one from IPPR approached the ministry to acquire information. My question is, who is spying on who? Are research institutions also now allowed to spy?”
He added that institutions should know that credibility is very important, arguing that the moment they lose credibility because of contested research outcomes, then people will also lose faith and value on their operations.
He further warned media practitioners to be careful when reporting on issues like these and not to “let people use them for propaganda reasons” but rather engage with his office before publishing such information.
“I am appealing to members of the media to always engage my office and verify information, don’t be turned into instruments for propaganda by politicians or anyone else. Remember this is an election year,” said Simataa.