Venaani gives Geingob 90-day ultimatum
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28 April 2017 Author  

President Hage Geingob has been given a 90-day ultimatum by opposition leader, McHenry Venaani, to bring to book culprits implicated in inflating costs in the construction of the Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Walvis Bay.

The call by Venaani comes as President Geingob, in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) recently, announced that those found to be on the wrong side of the law, will soon be arrested.

“The president said under oath that he was going to investigate corruption, thus I will take his word for it. I will give him 90 days to see whether he will act,” Venaani said.

The Bulk Fuel Storage Facility’s costs, which also cater for the construction of an off-loading and storage facility and pipelines, have ballooned from an initial N$3,7 billion in 2014 to N$5,5 billion this year.

Investigations carried out by the Windhoek Observer, show that the relevant law enforcement authorities, which should be at the forefront of bringing to book the suspected culprits, have neither been consulted nor notified, raising questions over the president’s sincerity.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Director General, Paulus Noa, absolved his organisation from any involvement in the investigation, referring the Windhoek Observer to the offices of the Attorney General and Prosecutor General.

Prosecutor General, Martha Imalwa, however, pointed fingers at the ACC, noting that the anti-corruption watchdog had been tasked with looking into the matter, referring to an email written by Attorney General, Sackeus Shangala last year, handing this responsibility to Noa.

“The ACC is the one that is supposed to investigate the matter then send it to my office if they see fit, if not then they would decline. I do not know whether they have proceeded with the investigations or not. It is Noa who can tell you whether investigations have started and at which stage they are,” Imalwa said.

Shangala, who has also been fingered in the matter because of his close relationship with Leevi Hungamo, refused to comment on the matter, citing his Constitutional right not to.

“I am exercising my legal right and choose not to comment,” he said.

Secretary to Cabinet, George Simataa, told this newspaper that the matter was an internal issue.

“The issue is a staff matter which cannot be discussed in the media,” he said.

During his SONA, Geingob said that Government continues to tackle cases of perceived alleged corruption.

He gave examples of the cancellation of the N$7 billion Hosea Kutako International Airport upgrading tender, the SME Bank saga and tax evasion and money laundering involving his friend, Chinese businessman, Jack Huang.

Namibia is lowly ranked when it comes to the prevalence of corruption according to the Transparency International Index, but the continued emergence of cases over the years, puts that ranking under threat.

According to the 2016 Corruption Perception Index released on Transparency International, Namibia’s score dropped slightly from 53 in 2015 to 52 in the 2016 index.

The index ranges from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

It is compiled by Transparency International, a non-governmental organisation that monitors and publicises corporate and political corruption in international development.

WINDHOEK OBSERVER

The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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