Cops warned against taking bribes

By Maria Hamutenya

RETIRED Nampol Inspector General Raonga Andima has stressed the need for government to avail resources to meet the needs of the force and its personnel to avoid police officers falling prey to temptations of bribery.

His utterings come in the wake of several recent reports of officers involved in acts of bribery. An administrative officer of Walvis Bay municipal traffic department, Andreas Eichab (42), was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission last Monday after Eichab allegedly asked a motorist to pay him an amount of N$1,500 to avoid the disqualification of his licence disc.

Five months ago, a police officer in the Zambezi region was also arrested on corruption charges. It was alleged at the time that the constable was supposed to arrest a suspect in a phone theft case, but instead demanded money from the suspect, and was allegedly paid about N$1,400.

Andima made the remarks recently during the inauguration of the new police headquarters in Windhoek, which took five years to construct.

“A decent working environment is very important for our police officers, particularly our junior officers. They are so vulnerable to those who want to weaken the force with bribes, and so on. If an officer is not satisfied, it will be very easy for everyone to try to bribe them, particularly criminals.

“Police officers are the protectors of the nation but some of the junior officers are also vulnerable to anyone who wants to weaken the force by offering bribes,” he said.

Andima also talked about how in the olden days the infamous ‘koevoet’ – a formation of white South African police officers and black volunteers from Ovamboland – had illegally returned from South Africa to Namibia.

“I spent the whole day in Mariental trying to encourage them to return as I cannot use force because the majority of them were former colleagues, and there was no way we could order for their arrest,” he explained. They only left when Andima threatened to call in reinforcements from elsewhere. “I thank all my successors for the achievement to bringing the force where it is today,” he said.

Andima further thanked all former presidents and President Hage Geingob, who so eagerly supported the request from the forces to create a more condusive environment for the police.

One of the main facilities is the new Israel Patrick Iyambo Police College (IPIPC) and the second is the headquarters, which were recently inaugurated in Ausspannplatz. The new 10-storey building will accommodate more than 400 officers from various departments.

“Today we have a force that is not pulling against each other, though they may have problems here and there, but a force of which we all can be proud of,” Andima added.

He further urged Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga to recruit and train people in the police force and to ensure money is not wasted on training police officers only for private companies to poach them.

Inspector General Ndeitunga in turn said the N$400 million building would offer much-needed office space, ultimately saving the force over N$3 million per month that is currently spent on rent, but emphasised that the police still faces numerous challenges, ranging from a shortage of accommodation facilities for officers, inadequate technology, and a further lack of office space.