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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Namibia gov't condones graft

afrol News, - Namibian authorities have been blamed for not taking aggressive stand on corruption, despite a surge in corruption-related stories on the country's print media over the years.

This was contained in the findings of a survey conducted by Namibia Institute for Democracy (NID). The publication, Actual Instances of Corruption as Reported in the Namibia Print Media, 2006/7, criticised the Namibian government for not acting on most of the reported cases.

Newspapers reported 240 corruption cases in 2006/7 compared to 92 in 2004/6, the survey found. It also found that the number of articles generated from corruption stories increased from 682 in 2004/6 to 709 in 2006/7.

The publication is part of the institute's zero tolerance campaign on corruption in the country.

The Manager of NID's Public Dialogue Centre, Graham Hopwood, commended the media for "doing its part of the deal although the authorities showed disinterest in acting on these cases."

Namibia's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) received 686 corruption complaints in 2006, but due to lack of evidence or unfounded allegations, 85 complaints were dropped, the survey found. Besides, 145 cases were transferred to other authorities.

The anti-graft body however failed to take action against 259 cases for one reason or another. Five cases were consolidated with others.

"This study found that the print media reported on 240 cases from April 2006 to March last year," Mr Hopwood said.

"This indicates that the media, which almost certainly did not report on all the complaints taken up by the ACC covered many other cases that were being investigated by other authorities, had been uncovered directly by the media, or were old cases that were being reported on because of continuing delays and inaction."

The increase in corruption reporting was evident by public interested generated after the Avid/Social Security Commission scandal and the launch of the ACC.

Corruption was mainly reported in parastatals, government ministries, local authorities, political parties, among others. 49% of the cases were connected to embezzlement of funds.

While verdict is yet to be passed on 76.9% of the cases, 18.8% have been found guilty of corruption.

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