THE Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa announced this afternoon that investigations and the possible arrest of suspects involved in the mysterious disappearance of over N$660 million from the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) have proven fruitless.
This, according to Imalwa, was contributed by a number of factors such as the changing of the Board of Trustees at the institution from the 90s. Others, she said, have since died, leading to a lack of sufficient evidence to prosecute anyone in the matter.
Although the case was opened in 2009, investigations only commenced in 2012, said Imalwa.
She was speaking at a press conference that she called to “address a number of perceptions which have been mounting against the office of the Prosecutor-General over the years and in particular to make herself available to answer questions”.
“Most of the criticisms are centered on the widely held belief that I am covering for the political heavyweights from being prosecuted for offences of corruption they have allegedly committed regarding the GIPF, AVID, ODC and recently SME bank legal scandals. I will not and will never prosecute anyone without there being an established strong case against them,” Imalwa said.
Imalwa revealed that a total 20 companies were investigated for possible prosecution in the GIPF saga, but that decisions were made not to prosecute 18 of them. The 19th company, she said, is facing prosecution and that the owner, whose name cannot be revealed for now, is expected to appear in the Oshakati Regional Court in October this year on a charge of fraud and contravening sections of the Insolvency Act. The suspect in the matter, who owned the debtor entity, allegedly hid assets of his liquidated entity, leading to his prosecution.
“We are still considering the decision as regards to the 20th company because of its bulk documentation and the arch files. Our decision is not one-man made as it passes through different Advocates for credibility purposes. Due to the period time lapse from the time loans where applied for, granted and at the time of investigation, most documentary evidence could not be gathered. What happened to the GIPF matter is a regrettable situation but the tracing of the money proved problematic for the investigation team,” Imalwa maintained.
She added that during the second half of 2014, some investigations were finalised, resulting in her Office also commencing the process of decision-making.
“Up to day, my Office has declined to prosecute on 18 of the dockets for reasons varying from there being no criminal offense that was committed on one hand to there being insufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case on the other hand,” she explained.
In the SME bank matter, the PG maintained that investigations are still ongoing and as such, the docket has not been sent to her office for a decision.
She noted that perception that the Social Security Commission (SSC) case is a separate one from the Avid case is bogus, explaining that it one case on its own and that no other case involving the SSC was brought to her office.
Another case involving the investment of N$100 million of the Offshore Development Company around 2005, linked to South African men, has been finalised and dealt with in that country.
Himarwa also revealed that the state will not apply for leave to appeal the sentence of former education minister, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, citing that the prosecuting team is satisfied with it.
She, however, added that another docket was brought before her office, in which Hanse-Himarwa is also a suspect.
No further details about the docket were shared.
“I am not above the law. Let us build the country and stop accusing one another over nothing. I have not and will never protect anyone who has committed an offense if thre is sufficient evidence to prosecute such an individual,” she said, adding “In addition, I have not and will never prosecute anyone without there being a prima facie case established against him or her just because of public pressure. I have taken an oath to carry my mandate of criminal prosecution as entrenched in the Namibian Constitution without fear, favour or prejudice,” she concluded.