Thursday 15 April 2021
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Police war brewing


•    Sex-for-jobs, nepotism, fraud claims
•    ‘Claims are not new in the force’-Ndeitunga

Police insiders say a full-scale war may be brewing within the Namibian Police Force in the wake of the arrest of a top cop, who was nabbed for corruption this week. Claims of nepotism, favouritism and sex-for-jobs have been trailing the police force for years, with senior officials often accused of abusing their positions to smuggle their relatives into the force while others use their positions to promote their cronies even if they do not meet the criteria.

But this is not a new phenomenon for Nampol – at least that is what most junior police officers claim.
Despite the claims, Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga says allegations of nepotism and favouritism are particularly rife when it comes to promotions, but cautions that the recent case of alleged corruption should be dealt with in isolation. Ndeitunga also says his office has received similar complaints in the past. “Some of the reports were true and others not, but I can assure you that all the complaints we receive are investigated accordingly. When it comes to transparency, the police is one of the most transparent institutions because you can see members facing the law when found to have transgressed,” Ndeitunga says.

He also says that bad practices within the force are not sanctioned by the police’s management.
In the last few years there have been several reports in the country alleging incidents of nepotism or favouritism in Nampol. These include allegations of questionable promotions where particular individuals have skipped a number of ranks apparently due to their connections to senior officers.   Other reports allege incidents where people have been appointed to senior posts without having the needed qualifications, experience and skills, even though there are better qualified candidates.   Junior officials have vowed to go on a tell-it-all campaign to root out nepotism in the force, with some claiming that their silence is to their own detriment. In a world where safety has become the buzz word, questions have been asked as to how these dubious processes impact the effective functioning of the police, seeing that the very agency that should protect the law is breaking it.

This week, Nampol’s head of human resources Abed Kashihakumwa was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission for allegedly corruptly appointing his brother-in-law, Sakaia Ashipala. Ashipala was discharged from the force in 2010 after being convicted for theft. It is alleged that various people in the force manipulated and facilitated his employment by changing scores and internal documentation so that he could meet the criteria. “A letter of recommendation was subsequently prepared for submission to the Head of Human Resource component, Commissioner Kashihakumwa, and signed by him on which the name of his brother-in-law appeared,” the Anti-Corruption Commission has said.

“Every case should be dealt with on merit. Like this case [Kashihakumwa case], when I was informed about it, I setup an investigation team hence this outcome,” Ndeitunga say. The police chief is worried over the impact of the negative complaints on the police. “We are concerned because these are our members and it will obviously have a negative impact on the reputation of the force. Despite that, we will continue to deal with complaints according to our code of conduct,” he says. In a letter forwarded to the ACC in March by a whistleblower, obtained by this publication, Major-General Desiderius Shilunga is alleged to have been promoted despite having a pending case.

Nampol last year promoted Shilunga to head the Namibian Police Force administration.Shilunga, who also served as Khomas regional commander replaced Major-General James Tjivikua, who has been shifted to head the operations division.He allegedly swindled money out of the Nampol Sport Club Fund and a case number CR 385/08/2010 of fraud and corruption was opened. The case against Shilunga was opened in 2010 after he allegedly squandered N$26 000 from the sports fund.

The whistleblower further alleges that Tjivikua also used his influence to ensure the promotion of his wife and brother after failing to recuse himself from the promotion panel and later also for facilitating the recruitment of his son into the force“As these generals are so-called untouchables, it is advised that only ACC must investigate them without their involvement, as you used to do Mr Noa. Let the law take its own course. Do not tell Nampol to investigate themselves,” said the whistleblower.

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