CHRISTINE Mboma completed an incredible season with another victory on Saturday when she won the women's 200m at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi in 22,39 seconds.
THE Grootfontein municipality is yet to implement recommendations of a 2019 report which revealed widespread maladministration, financial mismanagement and corruption among council employees and former councillors at the town.
The report, which has been kept under wraps since it was finalised in 2019, revealed that some employees and councillors at the municipality have over the years been engaged in dubious land deals.
The report also unmasked that municipal bosses have been paying themselves irregular housing and vehicle allowances without owning houses and cars.
It further revealed that top managers at the town have been receiving skyrocketing subsistence and travel (S&T) allowances to treat themselves to high-end hotels.
The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development compiled the above-mentioned report after an investigation into alleged maladministration and corruption was conducted from 11 to 29 March 2019.
This specific report has been the subject of political squabbles at Grootfontein since it was finalised.
Towards the end of last year, the former chairperson of the management committee, Jack Tsanigab, reportedly left a council meeting with the report as it was about to be discussed.
It was later retrieved through law-enforcement intervention.
The Grootfontein municipality has, however, been dragging its feet in terms of implementing the outcome of the probe.
As a result, none of the implicated staff, including former acting chief executive officer (CEO) Arnold Ameb, have been held to account regarding the findings of the investigation.
Grootfontein CEO Kisco Simvula refused to comment on the report, saying it was “classified” and that the issues raised are of an internal nature.
DUBIOUS LAND DEALS
One of the key issues flagged in the report is the mechanism the municipality follows to sell land to companies and individuals.
For example, the report states that in 2013, the council sought ministerial approval to go on tender for the sale of land in an area called Luiperdheuwel Extension 2, and Omulunga Extension 4.
Upon approval, the council did not follow the tender process, but instead sold the land using the “median” method.
This method, according to the report, did not benefit the council, as people who submitted lower bids and were not in the position to pay the deposit of 20% within 21 days were allocated these plots.
According to the report, after 21 days of non-payment of the deposit, the finance department repossessed the plots and re-allocated them to second bidders “who are council staff members, associates, business persons or councillors”.
“The second bidders would then ensure that they pay 20% of the purchase price and build up to a certain level so as to comply with conditions set by the council.
“The sale will then be concluded by the council lawyers with the power of attorney signed by the chairperson of the management committee and the acting CEO without ministerial approval,” the report states.
Investigators found that Ameb was paid a housing allowance of 40% without having any proof of a monthly mortgage letter from commercial banks, according to the report.
Ameb was further paid N$450 000 in S&Ts over a five-year period.
Over the same period the municipality paid a combined amount of more than N$1,3 million in S&Ts for 13 top managers and councillors.
This includes former mayor Absai Haimene, who received over N$245 000.
Tsanigab was paid N$150 702 during the same period, while the town planning officer, a certain IT Lungameni, was paid N$109 300 during the same period.
AMEB CRIES FOUL
Ameb has, however, rejected the findings of the investigation.
He currently occupies the position of strategic executive for property, and was appointed as acting CEO for the municipality in April 2018.
In his response dated 9 August and sent to Simvula, the current CEO, Ameb claims the report is highly inaccurate, and that the investigation was skewed towards him.
“It makes me feel like a foreigner in my own country. If I had enough resources I would have surely emigrated to another country. The report is a danger to nation building,” he said.
He further claims the findings of the investigations border on tribalism, and the municipality should therefore disregard it.
If not, Ameb says, he would sue the investigators and the minister of urban and rural development, Erastus Uutoni, “in their private capacities”.
He says nothing has changed at the municipality.
“Instead, things are getting worse,” Ameb says.
Journalist / Photographer (Yes)
Sakeus is an intern at The Namibian.