By the end of March 2022, an account named Children of the Liberation Struggle, resorting under the Prime Minister’s office, had a balance of N$13 million, all while children of the liberation struggle were knocking on the government’s door, pleading for economic opportunities.
The account is one of eight others that the Office of the Prime Minister kept and operated during the 2021/22 financial year, according to a report by Auditor General Junias Kandjeke.
It was opened in 2016.
Kandjeke gave the OPM an unqualified opinion, meaning their financial statement reflected its financial position and results fairly.
“In my opinion, the financial statements of the Office of the Prime Minister as at 31 March 2022 are prepared in all material respects, in accordance with the terms of Article 127 (2) of the Namibian Constitution and Section 13 of the State Finance Act,” Kandjeke is quoted in the report.
The report was submitted to parliament for scrutiny earlier this year.
Yesterday, attempts to get comments from Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa Amadhila, OPM executive director I-Ben Nashandi yielded no positive outcome as their phones went unanswered.
However, OPM spokesperson, Rhingo Mutambo indicated that he is unaware of the specific account and that questions should be send to the financial advisor, through him. Questions were sent.
Meanwhile, former Namibian Exile Kids Association (Neka) president, Benitha Nakaambo said she was aware of a similar bank account which was held with the now defunct SME Bank, as she served on a certain committee due to the portfolio she occupied.
The money that was held there, she was informed, was transferred to another local bank.
“There was an account when I was president of Neka which was with SME Bank,” Nakaambo confirmed yesterday. She could however not say anything about the current account.
It is unclear whether the money was transferred before or after the bank’s collapse. As things stand, SME Bank depositors expect to receive a maximum of N$25 000, irrespective of their invested amounts.
Speculation, however, has been that depositors with inside information used it to their advantage and withdrew their investment, just before the bank was liquidated.
Over the years, the preferential treatment of children of the liberation struggle, or struggle kids as they are also known, has drawn the public’s ire.
The public also took it with a large pinch of salt, when N$11,3 million was taken from the Social Security Commission’s purse and donated to the children of the liberation struggle.
The social security fund was aimed at training and employment creation schemes for destitute Namibians.
Back in 2021, the then Ombudsman John Walters and the Khorixas Constituency Youth Forum successfully interdicted and terminated a Cabinet decision that directed those certain jobs be reserved for the struggle kids.
The Cabinet decision, which has since been set aside, also meant that struggle kids would be employed without going through the recruitment process as required by law.
At the time, Walters was of the view that struggle kids did not fit the criteria of affirmative action, which may be applied to racially disadvantaged persons, women and persons with disabilities, nor did they fall within confines set out in the Veterans Act.
However, this has not prevented the children of the liberation struggle from knocking on the government’s door, demanding economic opportunities on the basis of their parents’ struggle credentials.
In February, about 200 children of the liberation struggle had to be dispersed by the police using rubber bullets, after they chained the entrance to the veterans ministry, after the ministry failed to heed their demands.
Six people, including a 14-month-old, were picked up by the police for contravening the law on public gatherings and conducting an illegal protest.
They demanded the veterans ministry register them as they are offspring of ex-combatants who do not belong to the youth ministry that registered them in 2008 for possible employment in government. They have been waiting since then.
During the period under review, the National Disaster Fund: Covid-19 had N$38.4 million in it, while the balance for Drought Relief (Call Account) and Drought Relief Account was N$505 892 and N$1.5 million respectively.
More so, at a local bank, Bank Windhoek, N$32.7 million was the balance for the National Emergency Disaster Fund while the National Emergency Fund (Call Account) at the same bank held N$213.8 million.
An account titled OPM NAMSACCO Support held N$3.2 million while the Namibia Cleaning Campaign had N$3.3 million.
Additionally, N$3.3 million was sitting in the National Independence Celebration Committee account, while N$2.5 million sat in the Heroes Arce account.