Corruption at local and regional level is not tackled with the same importance given to cases at national level.
This is according to the latest paper released by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) titled 'Risking Corruption: Regional and Local Governance in Namibia'. The paper is part of the IPPR's anti-corruption series.
"Many corruption cases affecting local and regional authorities occur beneath the radar and if they do reach the national spotlight, they are often only referred to in passing with few follow-up media reports appearing," reads the paper.
The paper, authored by IPPR's Ellison Tjirera, Malakia Haimbondi and Graham Hopwood, states that anti-corruption legislation, regulations and initiatives at local or regional level are often not developed and promoted with the same vigour as national responses to corruption.
"With little attention being paid to the activities of many local and regional authorities, inadequate regulations in place, and council staff teams sometimes short of key personnel and lacking specific skills, the scene is set for corruption to take place," reads the report.
Corruption is reported to be a worrying factor at local and regional level, with at least 18 local authorities having featured in articles about governance problems, some multiple times for different cases over the last seven years. Trends in these cases include the manipulation of the public procurement systems to divert tenders to companies linked to officials or elected politicians.
"In several cases, officials appear to see nothing wrong with allocating tenders to their associates and even family members. Undoubtedly the area of public contracting is the most vulnerable to corruption," reads the paper.
In late 2011, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) published its Namibia National Urban Corruption Perception Survey Report based on a nationwide survey of 1 200 people. The most corrupt institution was perceived to be the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) with 37 per cent perception. Local authorities came in tenth place.
The IPPR indicates that clearly there is a lack of ethical conduct, but also a lack of oversight, "loopholes in laws" and a failure to enforce the relevant laws that do exist.
"Law enforcement agencies, including the ACC should also be active in all regions so that the reporting of suspected corruption is a straightforward process," recommends the IPPR.
In addition, the IPPR suggest that the office of the Ombudsman could also have an official presence in the regions to enable citizens to report matters that might not be corruption per se but fall under the Ombudsman's mandate.