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ACC Conference: Building an Honest Namibia together

Held under the theme ‘Building an Honest Namibia Together: People, Integrity and Action’, the Anti-Corruption Conference brought together a variety of actors from government, civil society, the private sector, development partners and academia. The conference was organized by the Anti Corruption Commission. it took place from the 22nd until the 24th of June in order to present and develop the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan. 

A number of speakers addressed issues that relate to the complex phenomenon of corruption. Topics that were discussed were

  • corruption and its effects on development
  • the role of parliament in combating corruption
  • enhancing good corporate governance in the private sector
  • the role of the media in combating corruption, challenges to governance in SOEs and
  • transparency and accountability in the extractive industry.

Particular themes kept on recurring in numerous presentations pointing to their salience in the fight against corruption. One such particular issue relates to the so-called ‘big fish vs. small fish phenomenon’. Even though speakers did not necessarily have a unison position on this phenomenon, what came out clearly is that there exists a perception that the powerful and the well-connected are treated with soft gloves when it comes to corrupt activities.

Undoubtedly, this perception erodes trust in anti-graft agencies. Inadequacies with regards to laws to protect whistle-blowers also came out saliently. Moreover, one participant from the audience reminded us that “instead of focusing on what we do not want, we must articulate a more positive vision of promoting integrity and rally people behind this vision. This could be done by for example talking about a National Integrity Promotion Strategy instead of a National Anti-Corruption Strategy”.

Hon. Tom Alweendo argued during the first day of the Conference, Namibia as a country has understood the negative effects of corruption on economic development. Where corruption reigns, the quantity, quality and profitability of investments are negatively affected. The third day, closing day, tried to cover the topic leadership and how the private sector can help to combat against corruption. Also the Inspector General Lt. Gen. Ndeitunga spoke about the perspective of law enforcement and corruption.

The ultimate aim of the conference was to specify and develop the National Anti Corruption Strategy and the implementation of this. Consultant Mr. Keulder summarized the discussed priority actions and included them in the Strategy Plan:

  • Access to information legislation
  • Support to public procurement system reform
  • Asset declarations
  • Protection of whistle blowers
  • Convene the steering committee

The conference ended with closing remarks from the Honorable Prime Minister of Republic of Namibia.