Corruption cases surge, investigations still incomplete after years: ACC Report

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

The recently released Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Annual Report for the 2022/2023 financial year reveals a significant surge in corruption cases compared to the previous year.

At the same time, the report also revealed that several investigations into cases of corruption are still incomplete.

During the financial year under review, a total of 142 cases were registered with the ACC, marking a notable increase of 32 cases from the preceding year. Of these, 66 cases were investigated, while 67 were declined due to reasons such as lack of substance, vague information, or unfounded allegations.

Additionally, nine cases were referred to other institutions as they fell outside the commission’s jurisdiction.

The report highlights that the Head Office in Windhoek received the highest number of cases at 93, accounting for 65 percent of all cases reported during the period. Oshana Regional Office followed with 20 cases, while Erongo also received 20 and Otjozondjupa Regional Office received 8 cases.

According to the report, forms of corruption predominantly reported during the current financial year included abuse of power, bribery, misuse of public resources, Value Added Tax (VAT) fraud, tender irregularities and recruitment irregularities at various institutions.

Notably, whistleblowers primarily reported cases of abuse of power, constituting 57 percent of corruption reports.

Out of the 66 cases investigated, eight were referred to the Prosecutor-General (PG) for decision, 13 were closed due to unfounded allegations and lack of evidence, and the remaining 45 are still under investigation.

Moreover, 38 cases were submitted to the PG, with five currently before the court, three were referred back to the commission for further instructions, and 30 are awaiting the PG’s decision.

In the realm of legal proceedings, 22 corruption-related cases were finalised in the courts, resulting in 11 convictions and 11 acquittals or withdrawals. Of the convicted cases, two individuals received imprisonment terms while nine were fined.

ACC Director General Paulus Noa said the Commission has intensified its investigative endeavours to conclude pending cases, and despite limited financial resources, ACC has conducted public awareness campaigns and corruption prevention activities. Many dockets are currently either in courts pending trial or are with the PG pending decision.

“The Directorate of Public Education and Corruption Prevention actively carried out public awareness and corruption prevention activities under limited financial resources. The National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2025 is being implemented by various responsible institutions. I commend members of the clusters who have constantly shown commitment to tracking progress made by the respective institutions,” said Noa.

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