New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Govt Recovers N$38 Million of Missing Money

Windhoek — Government says it is making progress in recovering the missing millions of the Offshore Development Corporation (ODC) and has so far managed to get back close to N$38 million.

The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Dr Albert Kawana, on Tuesday informed fellow parliamentarians and the nation that the money was recovered through the liquidation of properties of certain individuals, some of whom are currently in prison for alleged fraud and corruption.

Kawana, who is also the Attorney-General, added that measures are being put in place to recover an additional amount of close to N$5 million out of the more than N$100 million entrusted to dubious investment companies by the ODC.

"This is sometimes a slow process and indeed even frustrating. I can, however, promise that we will leave no stone unturned in this matter until all those involved are brought before the law," said Kawana.

The ODC invested millions of dollars, with no contracts, security or repayment arrangements, in questionable companies instead of well-established and reputable businesses.

When no returns were reported on the millions it soon became clear that a criminal element was involved in the disappearance of the money and that the money had left the borders of Namibia.

Against this background the Office of the Prosecutor-General had to use international procedures to ensure that other countries, namely South Africa and Botswana, would render assistance in tracing the missing millions.

"Individuals should not become millionaires overnight without explaining how they acquired such wealth when only yesterday they were John Walker specials who could not even afford a bicycle. This nation is entitled to know the source of wealth of every citizen, especially from those individuals who are entrusted with the nation's public resources," remarked Kawana.

The Presidential Affairs Minister added that the effect of corruption, be it in the public or private sector, could have a devastating effect on any nation and that the impact is even more severe in a developing country like Namibia.

It was revealed in late 2003 and early 2004 that the missing ODC millions were invested with agents who offered unbelievable returns on shady investments. In one such deal, the ODC cancelled an N$18 million investment with Sanlam in 2002 and tried to get a N$25 million loan from the Namibian Investment Bank in early 2003 to invest in companies with dubious credentials.

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