30 July 2012

Namibia: LAC Enlisted Over 'Lost' N$660 Million

Windhoek — The Public Servants Committee has roped in the services of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) to probe the Government Institution Pension Fund where more than N$660 million of public servants' money was lost in dubious investments.

Corrina van Wyk, project coordinator at the LAC's human rights and constitutional unit, confirmed that since the case was of public interest and required transparency, the centre has taken an interest in the matter, but is waiting for the Government to complete its own investigation at the end of September as reported.

Van Wyk said for the LAC to offer litigation, it would depend on the availability of resources. Last year, Cabinet directed the Prosecutor General to lay charges against those who were implicated in the GIPF 'looting' and this year experts from South Africa were called in to help with the investigation in the long-drawn out financial scandal.

It is not yet clear who has been implicated in the case, although several high-ranking government officials and prominent business people top the list of those who had a hand in the infamous saga.

A police insider claimed last year that a high-ranking police official, whose name is known to New Era, had at some point attempted to block an investigation into the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) from going ahead when he found out that his brother was implicated by a forensic audit.

The source added that it would not be surprising if some "lightweights" like Namibian Chicken Investment (NCI), which received a N$10 million loan, would be the ones to face the music, while nothing would happen to known 'business people' who benefited from the GIPF's Development Capital Portfolio (DCP).

Police Inspector -General Sebastain Ndeitunga dismissed the allegations and said that an investigation was conducted and no evidence was found "unless one or two police officers are not being honest."

Members of the public servants committee have been fighting for reforms of the pension fund, especially the 16 percent interest on loans that the fund stubbornly sticks to while banks offer much lower interest.

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