ACC gets Angula’s backing
In a complete vote of confidence in the operations of the anti-graft agency – the Anti Corruption Commission – Prime Minister Nahas Angula said he is happy with the work of the commission in fighting corruption.
The Premier said he was satisfied with the work of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) since its formation in 2006 adding that any criticism directed at the work of the commission, was coming from people who do not understand how the commission operated.
He said: “Yes, they are doing a marvelous job. There is criticism sometimes because people don’t understand how they work…
“The ACC has no power to prosecute, their power is just to do criminal investigations. Once they finish their criminal investigations they give to the Prosecutor General to prosecute. Sometimes the Prosecutor General prosecutes then our courts are not finalising the cases. I am aware of many cases before our courts which are outstanding.”
Angula said he was in favour of the establishment of a special court that will expedite the finalisation of corruption cases.
He said the current set up where the Anti Corruption Commission only investigates cases before sending them to the Prosecutor General – who in turn has to decide whether to prosecute or not before sending the cases to the courts – was not working.
“…the ACC has suggested that perhaps there should be special courts to try corruption and serious economic crimes to fast track the due process.
“For now we have these three levels; the Anti Corruption Commission investigates, after investigations they give the dockets to the Prosecutor General, the Prosecutor General has to make a decision after that whether to prosecute or not to prosecute. When the PG has made a decision to prosecute, the case goes to court and the case is just there in the court forever and that frustrates the Anti Corruption Commission.
“I am in support of anything which will fast track the due process of the law because justice delayed is justice denied.”
The Premier also called for greater cooperation between members of the public and the Anti Corruption Commission as the coruption fighting agency depended on the input of the public for its success.
“Of course the ACC depends upon the public….somebody must report to them then they (the ACC) can investigate.”
According to a report released by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) last year, the ACC achieved 38 successful prosecutions in the first five years since it was established.
“While this seems a relatively low figure for five years’ work it must be remembered that the wheels of justice grind very slowly in Namibia. As a result, most of the ACC’s cases are either in court or awaiting a decision from the Prosecutor General,” the IPPR report said.
The report added that of the 262 cases logged by the ACC as persuadable between 2006 and 2010, 151 are still in court while 14 are with the Prosecutor General.
“The Prosecutor General has declined to prosecute in 36 cases referred to her by the ACC. This is an indication of a disconnect between the ACC’s understanding of the applicability of the Anti-Corruption Act and the understanding held by the Prosecutor General.”