Namibia: N$300 000 Swindled From Justice

20 September 2019

The Ministry of Justice has dragged one of its employees to court for allegedly siphoning N$300 000 from the ministry, and paying it into his personal bank account.

This is the same illegal modus operandi that was uncovered by The Namibian recently, and investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in July this year.

Jeremiah Baisako, who is employed by the ministry as an accountant, is accused of directing state funds into his own personal accounts between January and May 2018.

He was arrested on Wednesday last week, and appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court the following day, where he was denied bail.

He is charged with contravening a section of the Anti-corruption Act (Act no 8 of 2003). The 39-year-old has worked for the ministry for over 10 years. He is currently being kept at the Seeis Police Station, pending his next court appearance on 26 September.

According to the act, Baisako could be sent to jail for a period not exceeding 25 years or be fined up to N$500 000, or liable to both such fine and imprisonment term if he is found guilty.

Senior public relations officer in the justice ministry Simon Idipo confirmed the incident to The Namibian, adding that the matter is being investigated.

"I have been out of the office for some time. But yes, there are rumours going on like that in the ministry. The matter is currently under investigation, and we do not have any further comment at this stage," Idipo said.

Police spokesperson, deputy commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi confirmed Baisako's arrest.

"Indeed, I confirm he was arrested by the Namibian Police for fraud, forgery and uttering. He appeared in court, and was not granted bail. The docket is still with the courts," Kanguatjivi said.

Justice minister Sacky Shanghala and executive director Issaskar Ndjoze did not pick up their mobile phones when called for comment on the matter.

In July, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigated a similar matter in which three ministry officials had a combined N$1,3 million paid into their personal bank accounts so that they could supposedly pay a software company which supplied a work programme to the ministry.

The money was paid into the personal bank accounts of Danny van Rooyen, a chief training officer; Marian Groenemeyer, director of administration; and Simon Elifas, chief human resources practitioner in the ministry.

Weeks later, the ACC issued a statement, acknowledging that the transaction was illegal.

In their statement, the ACC appeared to conclude that it will not take action against the implicated officials, which left finance minister Calle Schlettwein fuming.

Schlettwein urged the ACC to take action against the implicated officials, but this has not been done to date.

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