The Anti-Corruption Commission wants to be given the power to prosecute public officials who are involved in mismanagements, malpractices and misappropriation public funds.
The Director General of ACC Paulus Noah made this call during today’s consultative meeting with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts in Windhoek.
ACC is currently in the process of amending the law that governs its functions to make provision for the investigative body to also prosecute accounting officers through a civil litigation court.
Currently, ACC only conducts investigations on implicated officials and then refer it to the accounting officer in charge or supervising those individuals with recommendations to internally investigate further if misappropriation is suspected.
Noah said the amount of efforts and resources that go into the ACC investigations in many instances are wasted as the officials implicated are not acted against decisively.
He also fumed about supervisors or accounting officers allegedly involving themselves in gratifications, hence the call for the ACC to be given powers to prosecute the executives for failing to fully carry out their mandated duties in dealing with issues of corruption.
The Public Service Act, the graft buster lamented is not enforced to the letter and many public officers are getting away with corruption.
“It cannot be business as usual any more, ones we have the power, public officers will change, because if you have such civil line powers in these institutions, all this will stop,” Noah believes.
Noah stated that jailing a person is not the solution, adding that they often stay in jail for four to five
years eating free meals and once they are out, they are rich since their assets have not been recovered to pay for their crime.
Government, he continued, also ends up paying millions for the wrong doing of public servants, who are never held to account.
These the DG wants to see an end to this, emphasizing that they have spoken enough and Parliamentarians must stop with unnecessary talks and start to act on these issues.
In view of government losing many corruption cases, Noah proposed a special civil litigation court in which accounting officers and administrators can be brought to task.
The ACC further mentioned a number of signs that can show red flags of possible corrupt behaviour such as always being early at and leave office late, resistant to transfers, long calls and never without cash.
The ACC representative also reiterated that the word on the street is that ACC only goes for small fish and not the big fish is a myth and inaccurate.
Instead, he pointed out that the body faces challenges of complacency of reporting corruption cases, and the inadequate allocation of budget to the ACC to carry out its duties fully.
The outspoken Noah also commended that the government vehicles standing in the sun is also an example of mismanagement, asking “who is accountable for such negligence and have they been brought to task”.
The chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Dudu Murorua wants the ACC and the Auditor General together with the office of the Prosecutor General to start coordinating their efforts together to bring accounting officers to account.
He spoke of the need for a body or framework to oversee the prosecution of public officers that is within the government but independent.