Namibia Denies Covering Up South African Cash Heist At Ramaphosa’s Farmhouse

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has been accused of covering up a 2020 burglary at his farm, where thieves allegedly ripped apart his furniture and made off with $4 million in cash hidden inside. Photo: RODGER BOSCH / AFP

 

Namibia’s police chief Thursday denied helping cover up a cash heist at South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s luxury farmhouse.

In a scandal that’s equal parts bizarre and damaging, Ramaphosa is accused of covering up a 2020 burglary at his farm, where thieves allegedly ripped apart his furniture and made off with $4 million in cash hidden inside.

In South Africa, Ramaphosa is accused of hiding the break-in from police and tax authorities.

But in Namibia, police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga said in a statement that authorities had in 2020 frozen bank accounts, lodges, houses and vehicles allegedly bought with the stolen cash.

Alleged mastermind Imanuwela David apparently paddled his way by canoe into Namibia, where the head of a major fishing company and a police officer brought him in from the border, Ndeitunga said.

After South African authorities declined to confirm that a crime had actually been committed, Namibia released the seized property, he added.

“No response was received from South African authorities, resulting in the cancellation of the preservation order and release of assets,” Ndeitunga said.

The entire investigation wasn’t based on a formal request, but was launched after a police official from each country met in the no-man’s land along the border in 2020, he added.

Ndeitunga denied doing “dirty work for President Ramaphosa”.

“We refute allegations of torture or abduction of the suspect, Mr Imanuwela David,” he said.

“There is a joint investigation underway between the Namibian police force and the South African police service,” he added.

Namibian President Hage Geingob has also denied helping Ramaphosa abduct and torture a suspect connected to the burglary.

South Africa’s former intelligence boss Arthur Fraser has accused Ramaphosa of organising the kidnapping and questioning of the burglars, and then bribing them to keep quiet.

Ramaphosa has acknowledged the burglary but denies the alleged kidnapping and bribery, saying he reported the burglary to the police after he had learned of it.

For a man whose entire presidency is staked on cleaning up endemic corruption, the farm saga has raised questions about Ramaphosa’s own accountability.

Germany Hands Over Looted Artefacts To Namibia, But On loan

Head of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation Hermann Parzinger (L) and Esther Moombolah/Gôagoses from the National Museum of Namibia show some Namibian art pieces from the collection of the Ethnological Museum in Berlin on May 24, 2022, before 23 parts of the collection will travel to Namibia in the framework of the partnership research project titled "Confronting Colonial Pasts, Envisioning Creative Futures". Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP
Head of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation Hermann Parzinger (L) and Esther Moombolah/Gôagoses from the National Museum of Namibia show some Namibian art pieces from the collection of the Ethnological Museum in Berlin on May 24, 2022, before 23 parts of the collection will travel to Namibia in the framework of the partnership research project titled “Confronting Colonial Pasts, Envisioning Creative Futures”. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

 

Namibia on Monday took delivery of 23 ancient pieces of jewellery, tools and other objects pillaged during colonial rule, and returned as an indefinite loan from Germany.

The return of the artefacts is part of a project to encourage rapprochement between the two nations.

“All the artefacts were collected during the Germany colonial era from different Namibian communities,” said the Museum Association of Namibia chairwoman, Hilma Kautondokwa.

READ ALSO: Germany Takes Italy To Court Over Nazi Compensation Claims

The returned items were taken mostly between the 1860s and the early 1890s, she said. Hundreds of other objects remain in Germany.

The items were handed over to the National Museum of Namibia by the Germany’s Ethnological Museum of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.

They were immediately put up for public exhibition and will be available to local academics for research.

In May last year, Germany acknowledged it had committed genocide in colonial-era Namibia and promised a billion euros in financial support to descendants of the victims.

Activists have rejected the offer as insufficient for the atrocities that have poisoned relations between Namibia and Germany for decades.

The return of the 23 artefacts came after three years of talks between Berlin’s Ethnological Museum and the National Museum of Namibia.

Activists in Namibia have also questioned why Germany opted to loan the looted artefacts as opposed to simply handing them back.

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation president, Hermann Parzinger gave a “guarantee… that these objects will stay in Namibia”.

The return of the artefacts is the latest move in response to mounting calls in Africa for Western countries to hand back colonial spoils from their museums.

In 2019 Namibia received a Bible and a whip that belonged to celebrated national hero, Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi, who was instrumental in the early fight against German colonial domination.

The previous year, Germany repatriated skulls, bones and human remains that had been shipped to Berlin during the period for “scientific” experiments.

Lai Mohammed Seeks Implementation Of MoUs With Namibia On Culture, Tourism

L-R: The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and the Namibian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Humphrey Geiseb, when the High Commissioner paid a courtesy visit to the Minister in Abuja on January 13, 2022.
L-R: The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and the Namibian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Humphrey Geiseb, when the High Commissioner paid a courtesy visit to the Minister in Abuja on January 13, 2022.

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has
called for the implementation of the various MoUs between Nigeria and
Namibia, especially in the areas of culture and tourism, to ensure
that they translate into economic benefits for the two countries.

The Minister made the call in Abuja on Thursday when he received the
Namibian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Humphrey Geiseb, on a
courtesy visit, a statement signed by Ministry spokesperson Segun Adeyemi said.

He observed that the bilateral cooperation between the two nations,
which dates back to 1992 on the platform of the 1st Nigeria-Namibia
Joint Commission, expired without implementation, and expressed the
hope that the MoUs will be revived for implementation this time
around.

READ ALSO: 5,000 Out Of 1.4m Shortlisted For Recruitment Into NSCDC

“Because the agreement on tourism cooperation between both countries
suffered from lack of follow-up, a separate MOU on tourism cooperation
was decided upon during the 3rd session of the Joint Commission in
2008, and signed six years later, in 2014.

“Unfortunately, the MOU, which had a lifespan of five years, has
expired and, until then, nothing was done by our two countries. I am
aware that efforts are on to renew the MoU for another five years.
Hopefully, this time, we will act to implement the MoU,” Mr
Mohammed said.

He promised to encourage a working relationship between Nollywood and
the Namibian Film Industry, against the background of the interest
expressed by a talented Namibian actress to feature in Nollywood
movies as a way of further honing her professional skills.

The Minister, who welcomed the support offered by Namibia to help
improve Elephant conservation in Nigeria,
stressed that with global warming and poaching, African wildlife is in
danger of extinction.

He thanked the Namibian Government for supporting Nigeria with 279
wildlife animals in line with the signed MoU on Cooperation in the
area of wildlife with the Government of Bauchi State.

“The animals, which comprised of 10 Giraffes, 53 Burchell’s Zebras, 14
Elands, 23 Blue Wildebeests, 21 Red Hartebeests, 24 Oryx, 26 Kudus, 52
Springboks and 56 Common Impalas, were placed at the Sumu Wildlife
Sanctuary, which is located in Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi
State. We remain grateful to the Government and people of Namibia for
this,” Mr Mohammed said.

In his remarks, the High Commissioner went down memory lane to recount
the support which Namibia received from Nigeria in its struggle for
independence, and said the Namibia-Nigeria Joint Commission, which
last met in 2010, will meet next month to consider all the various
areas of cooperation between the two countries.

He listed additional areas of cooperation to include creative
industries, beef infrastructure, animal conservation, tourism and oil
and gas sector.

New COVID-19 Variant Shuts Borders Across The Globe

Travellers queue at a check-in counter at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 27, 2021, after several countries banned flights from South Africa following the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant Omicron. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)

 

A new, heavily mutated Covid-19 variant spread across the globe on Sunday, shutting borders and renewing curbs as the EU chief said governments faced a “race against time” to understand the strain.

Indonesia announced similar entry restrictions on Sunday and Angola became the first southern African country to suspend all flights from its regional neighbours Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.

Dubbed Omicron, the strain has cast doubt on global efforts to battle the pandemic because of fears that it is highly infectious, forcing countries to reimpose measures many had hoped were a thing of the past.

“We know we are now in a race against time,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said, adding that vaccine manufacturers needed two to three weeks “to get a full picture of the quality of the mutations”.

Dutch health authorities said they had identified at least 13 cases of Omicron among 61 quarantined passengers who tested positive for coronavirus after arriving from South Africa.

READ ALSO: New COVID-19 Variant: South African President Calls For Urgent Reversal Of Travel Ban

“The investigation has not yet been completed. The new variant may be found in more test samples,” the National Institute for Public Health warned.

Despite the alarm, in Austria tens of thousands rallied to protest against the government’s introduction of compulsory vaccination — the first EU country to do so.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said it was “a minor interference” compared to the alternative for a country with one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe.

With many European nations, including Germany and France, already bringing back curbs to counter surges in infections, Swiss voters firmly backed a proposed Covid pass law in a referendum on Sunday.

In Britain, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said new Covid rules will be enforced from Tuesday.

Mask-wearing will again be mandatory in shops and on public transport in England. And all arriving passengers will have to take a PCR test and self-isolate until negative.

Read ALSO: New COVID-19 Variant Shuts Borders Across The Globe

As scientists race to determine the level of threat posed by the new strain — particularly whether it can evade existing vaccines — a South African doctor said dozens of her patients suspected of Omicron infection had only shown mild symptoms such as fatigue.

Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, who alerted health officials to a “clinical picture that doesn’t fit Delta”, told AFP she had seen 30 patients over the past 10 days who tested positive for Covid-19.

They had fully recovered without hospitalisation.

Coetzee said it was unfortunate that Omicron had been hyped as “this extremely dangerous virus variant” when its virulency was still unknown.

A long list of countries have already imposed travel restrictions on southern Africa, where it was first detected, including key travel hub Qatar, the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Netherlands.

Indonesia announced similar entry restrictions on Sunday and Angola became the first southern African country to suspend all flights from its regional neighbours Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.

Morocco said it was halting incoming flights for two weeks from Monday.

‘Very Dangerous’

Israel announced some of the strictest curbs, closing the borders to all foreigners — just four weeks after reopening to tourists following a prolonged closure due to Covid.

“We are raising a red flag,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said. Ten million PCR test kits would be ordered to stem the “very dangerous” strain.

Israeli citizens will be required to present a negative PCR test and quarantine for three days if they have been vaccinated against the virus and seven days if they have not.

READ ALSO: UK To Enforce New COVID-19 Rules From Tuesday

But the new strain has already slipped through the net, and has now been found everywhere from the Netherlands to the UK, Hong Kong to Australia, where authorities Sunday said they had detected it for the first time in two passengers from southern Africa who were tested after flying into Sydney.

Omicron’s emergence comes just a month after Australia lifted a ban on travelling overseas without permission.

Denmark confirmed its first Omicron infections, in two passengers who arrived on a flight from South Africa and Germany added a third case.

Blame Game

The speed at which governments slammed their borders shut took many by surprise, with travellers thronging Johannesburg international airport, desperate to catch the last flights to countries that are imposing sudden travel bans.

Scientists in South Africa said they had last week detected the new B.1.1.529 variant with at least 10 mutations, compared with three for Beta or two for Delta — the strain that hit the global recovery hard and sent millions worldwide back into lockdown.

READ ALSO: Israel Closes Borders To All Foreigners Over Omicron

The variant has also revived geopolitical fault lines exacerbated by the pandemic, with the US quick to hail South Africa’s openness — a thinly veiled jab at China’s handling of information about the original outbreak.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday “praised … South Africa’s government for its transparency in sharing this information, which should serve as a model for the world”.

South Africa had complained it was being unfairly hit with “draconian” air travel bans for having first detected the strain.

Namibia Opt To Bowl Against Scotland In T20 World Cup

Namibia’s Ruben Trumpelmann (2L) celebrates after the dismissal of Scotland’s Calum MacLeod (not pictured) during the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between Scotland and Namibia at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on October 27, 2021. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP)

 

Namibia skipper Gerhard Erasmus won the toss and elected to field against Scotland in their first-ever Super 12 match of the Twenty20 World Cup on Wednesday.

Namibia, who are ranked a lowly 19, qualified for the second stage of the tournament at the back of two stunning wins in the qualifiers and Erasmus said they are raring to go in Abu Dhabi.

“It was an emotional group stage, and we had to regroup after that,” Erasmus said at the toss.

“(David) Wiese is a great performer, but 10 other guys are raring to go today. There’s a lot of potentials and we want to unleash them as well.”

They come in unchanged from their win over Ireland.

Scotland, who suffered a 130-run rout against Afghanistan in their first Super 12 outing, are without captain Kyle Coetzer who is nursing a finger injury.

Stand-in-skipper Richie Berrington said, “We are putting the Afghanistan game to one side now, and we are happy with the cricket we are playing at the moment.

“It doesn’t throw us off, and we are ready to get back on track. Namibia are a strong side, and it’ll be a good game, but we are ready and raring to go.”

Craig Wallace is in for Coetzer.

Teams

Scotland: George Munsey, Matthew Cross (wk), Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington (capt), Craig Wallace, Michael Leask, Chris Greaves, Mark Watt, Josh Davey, Safyaan Sharif, Bradley Wheal

Namibia: Craig Williams, Zane Green (wk), Gerhard Erasmus (capt), David Wiese, Michael van Lingen, JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck, Pikky Ya France, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz

Umpires: Adrian Holdstock (RSA), Rod Tucker (AUS)

TV Umpire: Nitin Menon (IND)

Match Referee: Javagal Srinath (IND).

Cricket World Cup Qualifier: Nigeria Lose By 59 Runs To Namibia

 

Nigeria’s Women’s Cricket team competing at the T20 World Cup qualifier in Botswana have lost their second match by 59 points to an impressive Namibian side.

Namibia won the toss and elected to bat first. They started really well racing to 21 runs in just three overs before losing the 1st wicket to Abdulquadri Taiwo. The second wicket fell very quickly to Efosa Joy for just 23 runs in the 4th over.

Namibia turned on the heat and raced to 68 runs in 10 overs. Efosa Joy and Abdduquadri returned to break the partnership. Namibia lost the 5th wicket on 95 runs at the 15th over.

Yasmeen Khan and Kayleen Green of Namibia both scored 29 runs respectively, strongly supported by Jurriene Diergaardt with 15 runs. Namibia eventually finished for 125 for the loss of seven wickets in 20 overs.

READ ALSO: FIFA Endorses Aisha Buhari Cup As Ranking Tournament

Abdulquadri Taiwo and Joy Efosa got 2 wickets each for 19 and 24 runs respectively in four overs, while Agatha Obulor and Rachael Samson got 1 wicket at piece.

In the second innings, Nigeria started calmly, trying to navigate the opening overs of Namibia with Esther Sandy and Abdulquadri Kehinde rotating the strikes well.

Unfortunately, Nigeria lost both wickets quickly to peg the team on 22 runs after the 1st power play. Namibia increased the firepower thereon to restrict Nigeria to just 28 runs after 10 overs, taking a firm grip on the match.

Nigeria never got going, every dots ball and fall of wickets ensured that a possible fightback from Nigeria was too little too late. Only Omonye Asika managed double figures, scoring 14 runs off 29 balls as the best bating figures for Nigeria. Nigeria eventually finished with 66 runs for the loss of seven wickets in 20 overs.

Nigeria Can take positives from the game coming from the Kwibuka Tournament especially in the fightback during the first innings where Namibia was poised for a total of 170 but were eventually restricted to 125 runs. They will need a much-improved performance against Uganda on Saturday.

US Bans Two Namibia Ex-Ministers Over Accepting Bribes

Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast.
Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast.

 

The United States said Tuesday it would ban the entry of two former government ministers from Namibia whose alleged acceptance of bribes caused a political uproar in 2019.

The State Department said that former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau and former justice minister Sacky Shanghala — as well as their immediate family members — would not be allowed into the United States.

“The United States continues to stand with all Namibians in support of democracy and the rule of law, and against those who would undermine these principles for personal gain,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

The two ministers resigned and were arrested in 2019 on allegations that they accepted $10 million in bribes from one of Iceland’s biggest fishing firms, Samherji, in return for awarding quotas on horse mackerel from the sparsely populated southwest African nation.

The scandal, triggered by the publication of documents by WikiLeaks, came shortly before elections in which President Hage Geingob won another term but with a sharply reduced majority.

President Joe Biden earlier this month ordered a review on how better to fight corruption globally, calling the issue a national security interest of the United States as graft “rots democracy from the inside” and boosts authoritarians.

AFP

Cash-Strapped Air Namibia Ceases Flights

Air Namibia halts flights.

 

 

Air Namibia, the southern African nation’s cash-strapped flagship carrier, suspended all operations from Thursday after a government decision to file for voluntary liquidation. 

The airline has failed to turn around its fortunes despite years of state bailouts.

“All flight operations will be cancelled, with all aircraft returning to base,” Air Namibia said on social media.

Lawyers representing Air Namibia and Belgian company Challenge Air SA reached an agreement to have the carrier liquidated.

The board of the national carrier resigned on February 3.

A settlement agreement was reached in December 2019, where Air Namibia acknowledged it owed Challenge Air over N$330 million and undertook to pay the sum in monthly instalments.

Namibia is expected to announce voluntary liquidation on Thursday, which is expected to leave over 600 staff members unemployed.

Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi said about N$8.4 billion ($569.8 million) had been spent to bail out the airline in the past 10 years.

Namibia To Sell 170 Live Elephants

Female elephants walk at the Kulen Prom Tep Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia’s Oddar Meanchey province on December 1, 2020. (Photo by TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP)

 

Namibia is putting 170 live elephants up for sale to curb rising tusker populations under pressure from drought and territorial conflict with humans.

An advertisement for the sale of 170 “high value” elephants was carried Wednesday by a state-owned daily newspaper, New Era.

The ministry says the elephants are being sold “due to drought and increase in elephant numbers coupled with human-elephant conflict incidences.”

The sparsely-populated semi-arid southern African country is home to some 28,000 elephants, according to official estimates.

Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta told AFP that the government backed the policy of selling live animals after being criticised for shooting elephants to control overpopulation.

“We decided -– after research -– to sell them instead,” he said.

The elephant population had dwindled to about 5,000 animals at independence in 1990, but increased phenomenally thanks to a globally-lauded conservation programme.

The advertisement said pachyderms on sale would comprise entire herds in order to preserve the important social structure in elephant communities — infants or juveniles will not be left behind.

Shifeta warned that Namibia would not recklessly sell the elephants to buyers, saying “we have to make sure that the country is conducive.”

For export purposes, the buyers must ensure that CITES requirements are met by both exporting and importing states for the trade to be authorised, according to the notice.

In October, 100 wild buffalo went up for sale in Namibia.

Last year the government offered for sale around 1,000 animals including 600 buffalo, 150 springboks, 60 giraffes and 28 elephants.

Namibia Rejects Germany’s Offer To Amend For Genocide

Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast.
Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast.

 

Namibia’s President Hage Geingob on Tuesday said reparations offered by Germany for mass killings in its then colony at the start of the twentieth century were “not acceptable” and needed to be “revised”.

German occupiers in Namibia killed tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people in 1904-1908 massacres, which historians have called the first genocide of the 20th century.

In 2015, the two countries started negotiating an agreement that would combine an official apology by Germany as well as development aid.

Geingob on Tuesday was briefed by his government’s special envoy Zed Ngavirue on the status of negotiations.

The briefing took place ahead of a final round of talks for which a date has yet to be set.

“The current offer for reparations made by the German government remains an outstanding issue and is not acceptable to the Namibian government,” Geingob said in a statement after the briefing, adding that Ngavirue had been asked to “continue with negotiations for a revised offer”.

No details were provided on the offer.

The president also noted that Germany had declined to accept the term “reparations”, as that word was also avoided during the country’s negotiations with Israel after the Holocaust.

Ngavirue rejected Germany’s reference to reparations as “healing the wounds” and said the terminology would be subject to further debate, according to the statement.

Berlin was not immediately available for comment on the claims.

Germany has acknowledged that atrocities occurred at the hands of its colonial authorities and some officials have even recognised it as a genocide.

But the country has repeatedly refused to pay direct reparations, citing millions of euros in development aid to the Namibian government.

Namibia was called German South West Africa during Germany’s 1884-1915 rule, and then passed under South African rule for 75 years, finally gaining independence in 1990.

Tensions boiled over in 1904 when the Herero rose up, followed by the Nama, in an insurrection crushed by German imperial troops.

In the Battle of Waterberg in August 1904, around 80,000 Herero fled including women and children.

German troops went after them across what is now known as the Kalahari Desert. Only 15,000 Herero survived.

The German government has so far refused to apologise for the killings.

 

 

AFP

SERAP Writes Buhari, Seeks Ban On Car Purchase For Political Officers

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ban the purchase of new cars for the Presidency and ministers.

It made the appeal in an open letter addressed to the President dated May 16 and signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

The group asked President Buhari to use his leadership position to follow the ‘Namibia example’ by urgently issuing an executive order to prohibit the purchase of new cars till the end of his administration.

According to it, the savings from the ban should be used to support students of tertiary institutions across the country to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown on them and their parents.

It suggested that the funds should also be used to improve access to healthcare for all Nigerians, and the National Assembly and governors should be encouraged to also ban the purchase of new cars and to use the savings to pay workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements.

READ ALSO: Buhari Renews Akabueze’s Tenure As Budget Office DG

SERAP asked high-ranking public officials and politicians to demonstrate the constitutional oaths of absolute loyalty to the public interest and the common good, especially in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It added that the expenditure of public funds required the highest degree of public trust, stressing that every public official has a duty to protect and preserve the public interest in public spending.

Read the letter to the President below:

16 May 2020

His Excellency

Muhammadu Buhari GCFR

President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

Aso Rock Presidential Villa

Abuja                                                          

Your Excellency,

 

Re: Request to follow the ‘Namibia example’ by urgently issuing executive order to ban the buying of new cars by the presidency, and ministers for the remainder of the tenure of your administration 

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) is writing to request you to use your leadership position to urgently issue an executive order to ban the purchase of new cars by the presidency, and all ministers for the remainder of the tenure of your administration, that is, until May 2023.

SERAP also urges you to use the savings from this ban to support students of tertiary institutions across the country in order to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown on them and their parents and to improve access to healthcare for all Nigerians.

SERAP urges you to encourage the National Assembly and the 36 state governors to also ban the buying of new cars and to use the savings to pay workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements.

SERAP also urges you to consider banning spending on generators in the presidency and cutting spending on items like furniture and fittings, refreshments, catering services, and purchase of kitchen and household equipment.

SERAP is a non-profit, nonpartisan, legal, and advocacy organization devoted to promoting transparency, accountability, and respect for socio-economic rights in Nigeria.

SERAP received the Wole Soyinka Anti-Corruption Defender Award in 2014 and was nominated for the UN Civil Society Award and Ford Foundation’s Jubilee Transparency Award.

SERAP serves as one of two Sub-Saharan African civil society representatives on the governing Committee of the UNCAC Coalition, a global anti-corruption network of over 380 civil society organizations (CSOs) in over 100 countries.

According to reports, Namibia’s president Hage Geingobon on Thursday imposed a five-year ban on buying new cars for top politicians and government officials from buying new cars in order to redirect the funds to fight COVID-19 in his country.

This presidential directive is expected to save the country some 200 million Namibian dollars (US$10.7 million), which would then be directed to “to urgent priorities, specifically at a time when the country is dealing with the health and economic implications of COVID-19”.

Copying the example of Namibia will also show that public funds will be spent for the benefit of the people, and not as a prerogative for the advantage of the government or the benefit of public officials.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the urgent need for high-ranking public officials and politicians to demonstrate the constitutional oaths of absolute loyalty to the public interest and the common good. 

The constitutional oaths of office by public officials include the responsibility to prioritise the well-being of Nigerians.

Imposing a ban on new cars by the presidency, ministers and encouraging the leadership of the National Assembly and the 36 state governors to do the same would serve the public interest, contribute to cutting the cost of governance.

As the trustees of Nigerians’ public funds, your government, the National Assembly and governors are accountable to the public for the management of those public funds.

The expenditure of public funds requires the highest degree of public trust. It is the constitutional duty of every public official to protect and preserve the public interest in public spending. 

As the government prepares to finalise the proposed amendment to the 2020 budget, we urge you to immediately impose a ban on the purchase of new cars by the Presidency and to encourage the National Assembly and the 36 state governors to do the same, and to ensure that public funds are used for the benefit of the public.

SERAP remains concerned that several state governments are failing to pay workers and that the Federal Government is failing to pay pensioners’ entitlements.

This is a clear violation of the right to work recognized under article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Nigeria is a state party.

The right to work is essential for realizing other human rights and forms an inseparable and inherent part of human dignity.

We hope that the aspects highlighted will help guide your actions in acting to ensure and promote the public interest and the common good in public spending.

Please accept the expression of our highest consideration. Thanking you in advance for your urgent attention to the matter.

Yours sincerely,

Kolawole Oluwadare

Deputy Director

Court Upholds Results Of Namibia Presidential Election

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

 

Namibia’s top court on Wednesday dismissed an opposition bid to overturn last year’s general election over the use of paperless electronic voting machines.

Opposition parties in December petitioned the Supreme Court to annul the results and order fresh polls, claiming the use of electronic voting machines without a verifiable paper record was unconstitutional.

President Hage Geingob, 78, secured a second five-year term in the November poll with a hugely diminished majority of 56 percent compared to 87 percent in the previous polls in 2014.

The ruling South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO), which has been in power since Namibia’s independence from South Africa in 1990, also retained its majority in parliament.

“We decline to set aside the election and order a rerun,” Chief Justice Peter Shivute ruled.

“Applicants have not shown that the absence of a verifiable paper trail has adversely affected their fundamental right to vote.”

While upholding the outcome of the 2019 election, the judges nonetheless ruled in favour of paper trails for future ballots.

The lack of a verifiable paper record, they said, was “unconstitutional”.

Runner-up candidate Panduleni Itula, who led the court challenge, welcomed the ruling, even though the election result was confirmed.

He told AFP he was satisfied that paper audit trails would feature in the next poll.

“It is not the end of me or the end of the thought process,” Itula added.

Namibia was the first country in Africa to introduce electronic voting machines in 2014.

Itula had unsuccessfully petitioned against the machines before the elections, claiming the absence of paper records raised the risk of fraud.

The 62-year-old dentist racked up 30 percent of the vote as Namibia’s first independent candidate.

Popular Democratic Movement candidate McHenry Venaani came third with 5.3 percent.

“I am politically vindicated,” Venaani told AFP after the ruling.

“What they have done is going to help our democracy,” he said. “That is a victory in itself.”

AFP