Windhoek — Namibia has scored 52 on the latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), announced yesterday by Transparency International. The score of 52 is a slight decline, compared to the 53 achieved during 2018.
The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. It uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
In 2017, the country scored 51; 52 in 2016 and 53 in 2015. Seychelles (66), Botswana (61), Cabo Verde (58), Rwanda (53) are among the Sub-Saharan African countries ranked above Namibia.
More than two-thirds of countries scored below 50 on this year's CPI, with an average score of just 43. Executive director of the Institute for Public Policy Research Graham Hopwood yesterday said the drop means that government has missed the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) target of being the most transparent or least corrupt country in Africa by 2020.
"We would have needed to beat Seychelles which is positioned at 27th in the rankings, while Namibia is the fifth least corrupt country in Africa at 56th," Hopwood said.
"We haven't really improved since 2015 and have now slipped down the rankings by four places. I think this is because we talk a lot about corruption but do very little. We still don't have an access to information law despite a decade of talking. We still don't have an operational whistleblower protection office despite the law being passed almost three years ago," he added.
Also, he said, the Fishrot scandal has demonstrated that whistleblowers are absolutely crucial if corruption is to be exposed. "So there is so much more that can be done to fight corruption."
Hopwood said he was not sure if the Fishrot scandal affected the score and ranking as it came quite late last year, probably after the assessment on Namibia had been made - although Fishrot is mentioned in the main Transparency International report. "Depending on what happens now and if the scandal widens it could affect Namibia's score next year," he said.
When contacted yesterday Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) director-general Paulus Noa said he would have to study the report first before he could comment. "I was very busy today, I didn't get time to study the report, call me tomorrow then I will give you my comment," said Noa.
The report stated that in November, the Fishrot Files investigation revealed that Samherji, one of Iceland's largest fishing conglomerates, allegedly bribed government officials in Namibia and Angola for rights to massive fishing quotas.
"The company established shell companies in tax havens such as the UAE (71), Mauritius (52), Cyprus (58) and the Marshall Islands, some of which were allegedly used to launder the proceeds of corrupt deals. Many of the funds seem to have been transferred through a Norwegian state-owned bank, DNB.64," read the report.