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Namibia: PM Denies Moves to Capture Anti-Graft Body

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Prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has denied allegations that the government is trying to interfere with the operations of the Ant-Corruption Commission to tamper with ongoing investigations into the Fishrot scandal.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said there was nothing sinister about her decision to move spy Tylvas Shilongo, from the Namibia Central Intelligence Service to the position of executive director at the ACC in July this year.

“There is no interference in the work of the ACC. This is the power given to the prime minister to transfer EDs and there is absolutely nothing wrong that we know of with the person that is deployed at the ACC. If there is anything that renders that person unsuitable to serve in that position, that information must be made public,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.

She was responding to questions by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani who suggested that the government was trying to capture the ACC and influence its investigations into major corruption involving Cabinet ministers.

Venaani said the prime minister cannot speak about the government trying to protect the autonomy of some institutions such as the Electoral Commission of Namibia while completely eroding that of the ACC.

“The prime minister said the government wants to protect the autonomy of independent institutions when we talked about the ECN [Electoral Commission of Namibia]. But how does that speak to the fact that she appointed an executive director from the central intelligence, someone who deals all-thing secret, to come and run the ACC. To us, the ACC is already captured,” Venaani said.

For the purposes of transparency, Venaani said the PM should have allowed the ACC to recruit its own executive director to demonstrate that the commission was indeed independent from executive interference.

However, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the powers to appoint and transfer executive directors are provided for by the law and she only executed her duties when she transferred Shilongo to the ACC.

“That procedure will stand until that law is amended and I am sure we all know that. The ACC is not run by the executive director. It is run by the director general assisted by the deputy director and the staff that are empowered through delegation, to conduct investigations and other work that are carried by the ACC,” she said.

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