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THREE former councillors, who were members of the management committee at Okahandja municipality, are out on bail following their arrest by the anti-graft body on allegations of corruption.
The three–Gideon Uwu–Khaeb, Helmi Maruru and Hileni Iita – appeared in the Okahandja Magistrate's Court on Wednesday and were granted bail of N$10 000 each. They had served on a Swapo ticket during the previous administration.
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) spokesperson Josephina Nghituwamata confirmed the matter to The Namibian saying that the trio faces charges of corruptly using an office for personal gratification between 19 March and 24 July 2018 at Okahandja.
“The accused persons were all employed by the Okahandja municipality as members of the management committee during that period. The said accused persons acted in concert and with common purpose, did wrongfully, unlawfully, directly or indirectly and corruptly use their offices or positions in a public body, the Okahandja municipality, to obtain gratification for their own benefits or that of another person,” she said.
According to Nghituwamata, the Okahandja municipality advertised the position of strategic executive finance, IT and asset management and shortlisted candidates for the interview whereby Elifas Amunyela was the best-performing candidate as per the recommendations of the interview panel.
The accused councillors unjustifiably resolved and favoured the appointment of Pesella Nunda, who came second in the interview without following the recommendations made by the interview panel.
The former councillors are said to have contravened section 43(1) read with section 32, 43(2), 43(3), 46, 49 and 51 of the ACC Act 2003 (Act 8 of 2003) by directly and corruptly using their offices or positions for the gratification of Nunda in the appointment of strategic executive finance, IT, and asset management.
Amunyela told The Namibian that he was prompted to report the matter to the ACC after several unsuccessful efforts to get a response from the human resources office regarding the matter.
“I topped the interview but the members of the management committee opted to go for someone who performed second best. I was frustrated and all efforts to get a response from the human resource office yielded no results. I then decided to report the matter to the ACC. This is a violation of human rights, and institutions should not think that they are above the law. We are all equal and I deserve justice,” he said.
Asked whether he will take legal action against the municipality, Amunyela said he will approach his attorney for more clarity on the matter.
The next court date has been set for 15 March to allow the accused to secure legal representation.