THE Prosecutor General’s (PG) reluctance to prosecute in the N$660 million Government Institution Pension Funds (GIPF) scandal has serious implications which could damage the integrity of the PG’s Office and become a slap in the face of the arms of justice in this country.
Close to a decade since investigations into 20 cases of the GIPF fraud saga were first launched, the Namibian Police concluded their investigations and handed over dockets to the PG five years ago but she has opted to sit on the dockets with inaction.
She declined to institute criminal proceedings in hereof the cases. She has not yet pronounced herself on the remaining 17 cases which are all currently with her office.
The nature and seriousness of the N$660 million saga, the interests of the pensioners who have potentially been defrauded and the dictates for public interest should have been enough for the PG to decide on the matter as soon as possible.
The PG ought to recognise that the interest of the public in obtaining reasons for prosecutorial decisions is in line with the statutes of the constitution.
Providing reasons to explain her decision not to prosecute is vitally important in maintaining confidence in the administration of justice.
A negative inference may be drawn from her refusal to furnish reasons for administrative decisions, even if there is no legal duty upon her to do so.
It is clearly in the interest of transparency and accountability that reasons for decisions to prosecute of not to prosecute be given to interested parties, which include the pensioners, the State and taxpayers in general.
It is alarming that the PG, Martha Imalwa has dragged her feet in pronouncing herself in a high profile case like this where the state has had to fork out over N$3 million of taxpayers’ money for the police to conduct a protracted investigation, which entailed cross border probing.
The further the delays in concluding this saga, the more it raises eyebrows because of the high profile figures involved in his case.
It is a huge travesty of justice that to this very day, there is no single trial that has commenced to get to the bottom of this.
Her reluctance to act on GIPF lost millions undermines her institution and her office will be seen as toothless poddle incapable to charge criminality.
It also paints a gloomy picture on the country’s seriousness in dealing with large scale fraud and corruption cases. This case needed to be treated as a matter of urgency so that justice is not delayed.
It is the PG’s duty to fade away accusations of selective morality by giving impartial weight in high profile corruption cases to instil and maintain public confidence in her office.
It is important that the decisions of the PG’s Office be consistent and reliable.
The PG’s Office is an institution integral to the rule of law and it is important that it acts in a manner consistent with the constitution and within its power. The decision to prosecute or decline prosecution is a serious step that may affect accused persons and their families, victims, witnesses and the public at large and must be taken with utmost care.
After years of investigation, the Namibian police gathered sufficient and admissible evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution. It has strengthened the case of the State against GIPF fraud suspects, with credible state witness who were available to testify.
Our courts have acknowledged the locus standi of public interest organisations and political parties to challenge decisions of the prosecution authorities. Therefore prosecutorial decisions may be reviewed at the very least on grounds of irrationality of the decision and non-compliance with an empowering provision.
But for now, the pensioners will remain in the dark as we are not sure whether Imalwa will proceed with the prosecution or not. She could not give us a timeline for when that crucial decision will be made.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015