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Anti-Corruption Commission investigates petty crime instead of going after the fatcats

Anti-Corruption Commission investigates petty crime instead of going after the fatcats

By Nico Smit, MP – In an all too familiar pattern, the Namibian newspaper on Friday 5 May 2017 carried a story titled “ACC arrests clerk over N$ 2,300 fraud”. On the same day the very same daily newspaper carried another story titled “ACC investigates Esau”.

These two stories confirm the long held suspicion that when it comes to the more minor incidences of corruption, the ACC (Anti-Corruption Commission) is exceptionally effective and efficient. And yet whenever one is faced with a case where a Minister or other politically-connected individual is implicated in dubious dealing which have defrauded the tax payers of millions in public funds, these incidences seem to remain “under investigation” until the public outcry dies a natural death over time.

From the GIPF money, the Social Security Avid Scandal and now more recently the SME Bank scandal; what has the role of the ACC been in investigating these cases? Why is it that when millions are corruptly misappropriated the ACC never seems to go beyond investigating but when an insignificant amount is stolen by those who are not politically-connected the ACC’s investigation and prosecution capacity seems to be doubled?

For so long as this remains the case and there is no action taken against those from the many previous past scandals for which investigations were launched, then that serves as a green light to the political bourgeois to continue to defraud the tax payers with impunity.

Inorder for the ACC to be truly effective as an anti-corruption agency it needs to stop going after the small fish and prosecute the big fish it has so far shied away from prosecuting since it was founded. Without excluding the rest, it should not need saying that the ACC needs to target the most financially devastating cases of corruption.

Until this happens and the ACC starts going after the big fish, we are all just kidding ourselves, corruption will persist with the current troubling regularity and the ACC will continue to serve no other purpose aside from boosting Namibia’s ranking on international corruption indices.

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