Namibia: Judiciary Pushes for Transparent PG Appointment

(File photo).
29 September 2020

The Judicial Service Commission says it opted to publicly advertise the prosecutor general position to enhance the principles of transparency and accountability.

The commission advertised the prosecutor general's position yesterday, a move away from the practice of hand-picking people for one of the most vital positions in the criminal justice system.

The deadline for applications to fill the post is 16 October 2020.

The move to advertise the position is a major transparency coup for the commission, chaired by chief justice Peter Shivute, at a time when all eyes are on who would replace the current prosecutor general, Martha Imalwa.

Imalwa is credited by some for her tough stance on prosecuting the Fishrot case.

The commission said several factors could affect the recruitment of a prosecutor general.

"Factors such as the availability of suitably qualified and experienced persons for selection, and the readiness of the selected person to start work immediately, if appointed, will determine whether the appointment process will be completed before the deadline of 31 December 2020," it said.

The prosecutor general is responsible for prosecuting in the name of the state in criminal proceedings, and has the authority to decide whether to prosecute suspected offenders or not.

The Namibian Constitution stipulates that the PG is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission.

The commission placed advertisements in newspapers yesterday, calling for qualified candidates to apply for the position.

The advertisement states applicants should hold qualifications that would entitle them to practise in all Namibian courts.

"The applicant should, by virtue of his or her experience, conscientiousness and integrity be a fit and proper person to be entrusted with the responsibilities of the Office of the Prosecutor General," the advert reads.

Other requirements include 15 years of admission as a legal practitioner, a proven track record of being able to act with integrity and impartiality and with knowledge of Namibia's socio-economic context and government programmes.

Experience in criminal litigation and other experience in the field of criminal justice is also required.

Applicants should also have demonstrable leadership qualities and a clear vision to improve the criminal justice system, the advertisement further states.

Imalwa was appointed as PG for a 10-year term with effect from the start of 2004 nearly 17 years ago.

In October 2013 her term was renewed, but this time for seven years until the end of this year.

Imalwa has been working around the clock on the Fishrot corruption scandal investigation.

Some lawyers representing the accused charged in the Fishrot and Fishcor corruption cases are allegedly irked by her hard stance on the matter - to such an extent that they wanted her to recuse herself from the cases.

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