by Adam Hartman
ERONGO governor Neville Andre has warned public and private institutions not to abuse the Covid-19 pandemic for their own gain and not to throw victims of the virus and its economic impact under the proverbial bus.
He said this at the Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) annual media briefing at Swakopmund on Wednesday.
“It is such abnormal times when the instruments and institutions for integrity, transparency and accountability will come to test to ensure the resources earmarked for activities under Covid-19 are spent on the intended purposes,” Andre said.
He said if care is not taken, vulnerable communities will be deprived of the required support in terms of water provision, food distribution, sanitisers, personal protective gear, and crucial medical equipment and supplies.
He called on institutions dealing with procurement to be transparent and have open bidding processs.
“We must ensure no one is deprived through dubious deals, benefits to friends and families, and price fixing,” he said.
He said corruption could lead to an increase in the spread of the virus and an increase in deaths.
It will result in substandard medical equipment and facilities, and the economy would continue to crumble, he said.
He also referred to the long drought which devastated farmers in the region recently.
“Help for farmers and communities affected by this must still be a priority,” he said.
Andre pleaded to those involved with such procurements not to entertain nepotism, price fixing and self-interest.
“People must not be deprived from the much-needed development they deserve,” he said.
He committed his office to the fight against corruption by demanding regular reports on procurement from public agencies in the Erongo region, and through continuous monitoring of progress of projects.
He also called for the increase of the Anti-Corruption Commission's budget to effectively fight corruption.
According to the ACC's chief public education and corruption prevention officer, Tobias Amoonga, Namibia, of 180 countries, dropped four places (one point) on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index from being number 52 in 2018 to 56 in 2019.
Furthermore, ACC investigator Frieda Kanyama told the media the agency is currently dealing with 82 cases of which 59 is ongoing, 18 in court and four have been referred to the prosecutor general. One case is pending.
Since last year, 15 cases have been finalised.
SOURCE: The Namibian