Decisiveness on whistleblower intel non-negotiable

IN a time where corruption is not only the most trending issue in the public sphere but also at the heart of our economic woes, the need to act upon whistleblower intel has become an imperative that should never be downplayed.

Verily, whistleblowers have leaked information to authorities particularly, the Anti-Corruption Commission, but this information has not been met with the urgency, seriousness and punitive measure that it deserves.

Instead, some authorities have resorted to turning a blind eye to the intelligence provided by members of the public for the benefit of their cronies, which defeats the true purpose of collective intolerance to corruption, a key ingredient to ridding Namibia of her corruption cancer.

We are encouraged this week that reliable and actionable intelligence that we reported as to have been provided to authorities by trucking company FP du Toit, on an alleged bribery attempt by a TransNamib board member when the company sought expansion land from the parastatal, will finally be acted upon and justice will prevail.

We recognise that this whistleblowing act was also this week recognised by President Hage Geingob when he encouraged Namibians to take a cue from FP du Toit further stating that, “This is the level of vigilance required from all of us in order to deal with the scourge of corruption decisively. It is a welcome development because I have said many times, that citizens are often afraid to report corruption out of fear of losing their jobs, licences etc. However, we must appreciate that Namibians paid the ultimate sacrifice for our independence, therefore if we are intent on destroying corruption, we must be willing to make great sacrifices as well”.

What we need to acknowledge in the wake of these developments is that if information provided by willing whistleblowers is ignored, it deters future whistleblowers from making their much needed contribution to the fight against corruption. We would all agree that subsequent to the fishrot scandal and slipping on global corruption indexes, it is imperative that everyone plays a role to address this social ill that threatens to reverse the economic gains achieved by hardworking and honest Namibians.

There is no denying that corruption is a notoriously secretive activity and it is usually only those engaged in corrupt deals or those who work with them that are aware of it. Insiders are among the few people who are able to report cases of corruption (past or ongoing) and identify the risk of future wrongdoing. By helping to detect corruption cases, whistleblowers play a critical role in converting a vicious cycle of secrecy into a virtuous cycle. It is then essential that when whistleblowers take this step, they do not just state the allegations but also play a key role in the process of evidence gathering.

With government’s financial woes having been acerbated by public servants indulging in perilous acts such as dubious payments to ghost companies, over-invoicing, and other diversionary actions, a more vigilant citizenry that has avenues to play a role will go a long way in complementing other corruption fighting mechanisms.