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Namibia
Politics | Economy - Development

"Severe blow" to Namibia's corruption fight

afrol News, 19 July - The national anti-corruption agency of Namibia has decided not to investigate further the controversial awarding of bidding to top officials in the Office of former Namibian President Sam Nujoma. Human rights activists call the decision a "severe blow to Namibia's anti-corruption crusade."

Namibia's National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) yesterday said it was "deeply dismayed, though not necessarily surprised," by last week's decision by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). The ACC reportedly declared that corruption had not been the case in State House regarding its controversial awarding of bidding to top officials.

The ACC reportedly found that the country's state oil corporation, NamCor, had followed "proper" bidding procedures and that such bidding had been "correctly" awarded to a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) outfit called Namibia Liquid Fuel (NLF). NLF is a joint venture by top former State House officials and other persons politically well connected to former President Nujoma's office.

ACC Director Paulus Noa reportedly confirmed that as far as his agency was concerned, nothing prosecutable could be found in terms of the Anti-Corruption Act when ACC investigated the three-year multi-million dollar deal to import from South Africa 450,000 tonnes of fuel per year. The deal is said to have led to instant self-enrichment on the part of a small number of politically well-connected officials in the Office of ex-President Nujoma. There is widespread public perception that corruption has become endemic in the country under Mr Nujoma's 15-year rule between 1990 and 2005.

Mr Noa reportedly also said that former Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab had approved the NLF deal. NLF reportedly earns slightly more than US$ 110 million profit per annum and a small group of highly placed former State House officials shares more than US$ 55 million of the said profit. Ex-PM Gurirab is said to be a close Nujoma confidante.

"Our whole governance is based on political patronage and thus can be considered as inherently corrupt with the result that many of the laws that have been passed since Namibian independence are also inherently corrupt and should be referred to as legislated corruption," noted NSHR director Phil ya Nangoloh. "Hence, ACC reportedly based its findings on legislation that is inherently corrupt and or that institutionalises corruption," the prominent human rights activist added.

"We wish to point out categorically clear that we are not at all blaming ACC as such for not finding corruption in the said fuel deal. Rather, we lay the blame squarely at the feet of a state of legalized or institutionalized corruption, which has been prevailing in the country since Namibian independence in 1990," added Mr ya Nangoloh.

According to the Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI), however, Namibia is one of the least corrupt states in Africa. Namibia ranks 55th on TI's annual Corruption Perceptions Index for 2006. The list comprises of 163 states.


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