Namibia: Assets of Former Ministers 'Safe' for Now

15 November 2019

The head of the Namibian Police Public Relations Division, Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, said the police would for now not seize any fixed or liquid assets belonging to the former fisheries and justice ministers.

The two voluntarily resigned following explosive media revelations that they pocketed massive bribes in what could be one of the biggest graft cases in post-independent Namibia.

Kanguatjivi said for now their assets "would not be frozen" because no case has been brought to the attention of the Assets and Forfeiture Unit of the police.

Kanguatjivi told New Era telephonically that an alleged corruption case is in the hands of the body that investigates graft in the country, being the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC), and the police will only act upon instructions, or a court order, to seize properties.

Fisheries minister Bernhard Esau and his justice counterpart Sacky Shanghala resigned on Wednesday after being linked to a massive corruption scandal involving an alleged kickback scheme of at least N$150 million.

The two were immediately summoned to State House by President Hage Geingob following local and international media reports on the issue.

Kanguatjivi said the ACC has been investigating the case because it is a corruption matter.

"When it comes to the forfeiture and attachment of people's assets, you obtain, or either you are directed through prosecution, that we want to seize these assets. Under the Anti-Corruption Act they have the right to seize, they can seize even while the investigations are ongoing," said Kanguatjivi.

He further comprehensively explained that in police cases, when they bring cases of corruption to court, the police request permission from the court that the assets that were acquired through corruption be seized.

"We cannot just stand up and seize things. It is a process and I think New Era can excuse us and engage Anti-Corruption," stated Kanguatjivi.

ACC head Paulus Noa spoke live on NBC TV News on Wednesday night, saying the evidence circulated on social media in not evidential enough to drag the two former ministers and other implicated people to court.

"There is nothing new to ACC in what is released by the media today (Wednesday); proving the allegation means we must obtain statements under oath and documentary proof. The process has already started. You do not approach the court with mere unauthentic video clips. Let us assure (the public) the matter is on our radar," said Noa.

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