Namibia’s Presidency has responded to reports of corruption against President Hage Geingob in the country’s fishing industry. The reports followed the release of an investigation released by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and The Namibian newspaper.
The investigation report states that the lawyer who arranged the deal said President Hage Geingob instructed his close associates to embezzle millions of dollars from a state-run fishing enterprise. The funds were used to bribe electors at the 2017 congress of the ruling SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organization) party.
In a lengthy response, Namibia’s presidency dismisses the article by Al Jazeera as empty saying that Hage Geingob is not involved in any fishing corruption. The country’s presidency said the article accusing Hage Geingob of corruption in the fishing industry, undermines “journalism ethics and use the name of the President to attract audiences when in essence they are miserably empty on the accusations.”
Al Jazeera Investigations is Touting Misinformation and Astonishing Lies about Namibia
Namibia has developed a solid reputation as one of the best-governed countries in Africa. It is a reputation that has taken the sweat and hard work of Namibian leaders and citizens over the past 31 years of independence. The third President of the Republic of Namibia, H.E Hage G. Geingob has been instrumental in creating the Effective Governance Architecture, which today is widely lauded by peers and for which President Geingob has been invited to participate in several anti-corruption initiatives globally. In line with Namibian Laws, the country’s processes, systems and institutions, President Geingob has demonstrably taken unprecedented and decisive actions against corrupt activities. When Al Jazeera futilely tried in 2019 to link the name of the President to corruption in the fishing sector through the “Fishrot”, the Head of State in a lengthy reply reminded Al Jazeera that he would not blemish his reputation and record, crafted over decades of public service, including as freedom fighter for the liberation of Namibia, Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly, founding Prime Minister and now as the third President.
The articles published on 2 April 2021 by Al Jazeera “Namibian President caught in new fishing corruption allegations,” including by OCCRP undermine journalism ethics and use the name of the President to attract audiences, when in essence they are miserably empty on the accusations. The articles are about nothing, and are a mere collection of petty and sensational inferences that have nothing about a popularly elected President. Aided by Namibians, one would expect that the article would at least be accurate with regard to what President Geingob has done to fight corruption.
In a bold act of transparency and accountability, though not required by law, President Geingob declared in 2015 publicly his assets and those of the First Lady as a solid demonstration of leading by example in the fight against corruption. In 2015, President Geingob cancelled a tender for the construction of the Airport that was inflated from 3 Billion N$ to 6 Billion N$. In 2018, following allegations of corruption in their Ministries and Offices, President Geingob submitted dossiers by Ministers and the then Attorney General to the Anti-Corruption Commission. In 2019, in the wake of corruption revelations involving the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, President Geingob removed the two individuals from the Cabinet.
In light of the above, the so-called new revelations and external meddling through outfits of foreign agents, OCCRP and Al Jazeera, sadly working in cahoots with locals are not only a rehash of old news, which in no way implicates the President, but they are a pathetic attempt to undermine the democratic order for which Namibians made tremendous sacrifices for many years. It is regrettable, if not pathetic that a few Namibians are hopelessly working in a self-serving manner with foreign agents to undermine their own democracy, the country’s processes, systems and institutions.
President Geingob, in both his capacities as the popularly elected Head of State and President of the SWAPO Party has issued several statements in respect of the “Fishrot scandal.” First, the Presidency issued a statement on 21 January 2021, which OCCRP promised to also use as a reference for its story, which for obvious reasons was not included to the story. Second, as President of SWAPO, President Geingob issued a lengthy statement on 21 July 2020 in respect of the “Fishrot scandal”. It further deserves emphasis that the President is not an accused in any matter, and worse there is no iota of evidence linking President Geingob to corrupt activities in the fishing sector. In fact, President Geingob has directed reforms of the fishing sector for greater transparency through a public declaration of fishing rights’ owners and beneficiaries, and for benefits to accrue to a larger section of Namibians.
Namibia is governed by a Constitution, which guarantees Rule of Law, and it is incumbent upon citizens to remain vigilant against subversive agents that are seeking to undermine our Constitution through bogus reports and to cast aspersions on the legitimacy of our democratic institutions. The article by Al Jazeera, OCCRP and The Namibian is nothing but a sham and another wasted attempt to graft Africans as unable to manage their own affairs and in need of foreign stewardship.
ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
Media Enquiries Dr Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari
Email: Alfredo.Hengari@op.gov.na Mobile: +264811281496 www.op.gov.na