ONGWEDIVA – The status of the investigation into two former top officials and the acting CEO of the Ruacana town council implicated in the mismanagement of funds and forging of invoices worth millions, is uncertain.
Ruacana mayor Linda Mbwale has revealed an investigation was completed, and they have taken the matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
However, ACC director Paulus Noa denied receiving the report.
“As far as I am concerned, we are not investigating such a case. I am not aware of that,” he told this publication.
In a telephonic interview with New Era yesterday, Mbwale said the case was reported to the ACC last month, and they are still waiting for the outcome.
The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development initially investigated reports of the mismanagement of funds at the Omusati town, which unearthed cases of invoices being forged for funds that were allegedly meant for the drilling of boreholes and the construction of gravel roads, stormwater channels and the electrification of Oshifo 2 and 3. Based on the ministry’s reports, the matter implicates former CEO Emily Nanyeni, former secretary of the procurement committee Ngatangue Tjambiru, and current acting CEO Isai Hipudilo.
The ministry recommended that the council hold the trio accountable.
Tjambiru has since resigned, while Nanyeni’s contract ended last year.
Both denied wrongdoing. Hipudilo is undergoing a disciplinary hearing.
“After the investigation, the ministry is supposed to take action against those implicated. But all I can say at this point is that the acting CEO is currently going through a disciplinary hearing,” said Mbwale.
According to the ministry’s investigation reports seen by New Era, the council requested the ministry to disburse funds for the projects, using forged documents.
During the financial year 2016/17, the council requested the ministry to transfer funds, amounting to N$29 593.81, using false invoices.
The amount was meant to pay the consulting engineers for the electrification of Oshifo. However, the council could not provide ministry investigators with the project budget, advertisement, procurement minutes, appointment letters and site meeting minutes.
During the 2017/18 financial year, the town council requested the ministry to transfer an amount of N$1.2 million, attaching fake invoices: one amounting to N$755 245.61 and another of N$1 005 245.61.
This was purportedly for the construction of the gravel road and stormwater channel at Oshifo Extension 1 & 2.
Although the amounts were paid to the council, the funds were not paid to the consultant.
“The remaining balance on fictitious invoices forwarded to the ministry in respect of the project for Tulipamwe Consulting Engineers is N$780 101. On 17 July 2018, the ministry transferred an amount of N$1 646 393.80 as per the council’s request via fictitious invoices. However, the council only paid N$1 247 345.96 to Kambwa Trading cc, and a difference of N$399 044.84 could not be explained by the council,” the document reads.
Again, during the 2020/2021 financial year, it requested the ministry to disburse funds for the borehole projects, using forged documents.
The forged documents allegedly included the fabricated minutes of the procurement committee meeting, tax invoices, as well as the appointment letters of two service providers - JV Drilling CC and GM Electro-Mechanical Solution.
“The forged invoice for N$1 126 908, in favour of JD Drilling CC, is stamped and certified by the council. An invoice of N$1 030 042.35, belonging to GM Electro-Mechanical Solution, was also signed, stamped and certified by the council,” states the document.
It is reported that Hipudilo allegedly drafted the fake minutes, forged the signature of the procurement committee’s chairperson, and changed quotations to invoices without the contractors’ knowledge. Tjambiru allegedly signed fake minutes of the procurement committee meeting.
Nanyeni is accused of signing the forged recommendation minutes and claiming funds from the ministry, using forged invoices.
In a letter dated 22 April 2022, minister Erastus Uutoni directed the council to act on the findings and recommendations.
He also instructed the town council to submit to his office a plan of action, indicating how it intends to implement the recommendations contained in the investigation report.
Minister Uutoni could not comment before the paper went to print, as he was in a meeting.
Uncertainty… Community members held a protest in June, demanding answers into the case involving top officials.
Photo: Aletta Shikololo