Namibia’s watchdog Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is in a great deal of trouble: a major bribery and fraud case, begun in 2009, appears to be imploding. Ten years after the scandal first broke that a member of the Public Service Commission, guardian of ethical conduct in the civil service, had been arrested and charged with two others in connection with massive corruption, the High Court has dealt what might be a crippling blow to the prosecution. Judge Christie Liebenberg has found that because the ACC did not follow correct procedures its summonses issued to several banks were invalid. All the evidence against the accused from the banks was thus unlawfully obtained and inadmissible in court. Though an appeal has since been noted, the prospects of a successful prosecution seem increasingly bleak at this stage, particularly since this is not the first time the courts have knocked out evidence due to be heard in the trial on the grounds that it was improperly obtained.
Namibian lawyer tells national police chief: protect my client against abduction, rendition, by Zim police
As the crisis in human rights and the rule of law continues in Zimbabwe, its impact – and growing condemnation of the government crackdown – has spread elsewhere in the region and abroad. In Namibia, an opposition MP, visiting from Zimbabwe, fears for his life after receiving information that a squad of Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation police have arrived in Namibia to abduct him. He believes the aim of the secret mission is to return him to Zimbabwe and put him on trial for treason. In other developments, confidential documents have been leaked by Zim police to The Guardian in the UK, showing police frustration at the impunity enjoyed by the military in the Harare area. And a ranking UK MP, Kate Hoey, has made a major speech condemning the Mnangagwa government for its dangerous infringement of the constitution and the rule of law.
In a bizarre case, due to be heard in the Namibian courts next week, the country’s defence force is alleged to have taken over the premises of a private shooting club outside the town of Rehoboth just before Christmas. The club says the army changed the locks and warned that the site is now off limits to the public as it is a “military zone” – all of this without notice or warning. The club is fighting back against this military might, by making an application for a spoliation order. Members say unless the dispute is heard urgently, their charitable work in the local community will be decimated and their other club activities will also be halted. The club’s officials claim that the defence force has taken the law into its own hands and that the club’s rights are being violated.