GOVERNMENT’S prosaic resolve to forge ahead with lifestyle audits through the department of Inland Revenue provides a glimmer of hope for state coffers that have been relentlessly looted by those in positions of authority leading to a rise in people on modest salaries living immodestly.
With government’s financial woes having been acerbated by public servants indulging in perilous acts such as dubious payments to ghost companies, over-invoicing, and other diversionary actions, the current wave of lifestyle audit should be applauded as an initiative long overdue and one that can rid the country of corruption and complement the assets declaration stance already implemented at executive and legislature level.
It remains a welcome relief that Namibia’s filthy rich, political bigwigs and wheeler-dealers, who live in lavish mansions sprawling across vast acres of space with landscaped surroundings and drive luxury cars, face a lifestyle audit together with others who have for decades manipulated government systems for personal gain.
While Namibia must borrow a leaf from South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plea that he wants members of his cabinet to be the first ones to be subjected to lifestyle audits to help identify senior government leaders involved in corruption, it has always been clear that President Hage Geingob’s administration has been determined to eradicate poverty, but most importantly corruption with investigations of unexplained wealth is a good indicator of this determination.
The recent declaration of assets by members of parliament subsequent to the same act by President Hage Geingob, his wife, Monica Geingos and Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein add to this determination to rid our society deep rooted corruption in the public service.
It is no secret that some public officials currently own property worth billion inclusive of enormous farms. Some can afford to buy luxury vehicles such as the latest Ferrari’s and the 2018 edition of the Range Rover yet their incomes are not equivalent to such spending hence the question of where they get this money from needs to be interrogated.
Verily, it is inexplicable how some permanent secretaries can be millionaires and own the most expensive farms and luxury homes worth over N$300 million in market value. The vicious circle of corruption extends to tax avoidance where the vanguards of corruption amass wealth through tender kickbacks and inflating prices and fail to honour any tax obligations thereby eating into proceeds that could have been used by the state to build schools, clinics, housings and other social services.
It should be our collective hope that this move by Inland Revenue will receive unequivocal attention from government and should not be used to divert attention away from corrupt public representatives and make public servants scapegoats.
As a publication, we have always maintained that corruption has never done this country any good, and in asserting this long held view we reiterate that it must be uprooted with the tenacity it deserves. In order to give meaning and effect to this recommendation, we strongly believe that this decision must, as a matter of priority, be focused on senior public servants as a starting point. It is obvious that most of those, who are susceptible to corruption within the public service are those placed in strategic positions tasked with decision taking responsibilities.
This will not only strengthen corruption fighting systems but will also encourage civil society to become vocal proponents in the fight against corruption as ministers and other top state officials will particularly sweat to explain their unexplained wealth. Their material fortunes often get exposed during divorce cases will meet the law if government firmly upholds this initiative.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015