IUM allegedly suspends employee over IPC fleet

Home National IUM allegedly suspends employee over IPC fleet
IUM allegedly suspends employee over IPC fleet

A month after launching an investigation into reports suggesting its resources were used to bankroll political activities, the International University of Management is tight-lipped on the outcome of the investigation.

A fortnight ago, IUM released an advertorial stating its governing council convened a special urgent meeting in April to review an investigation report prepared by management.

The advertorial indicated that the council endorsed the position taken by management. However, there were no specifics as far as the investigation is concerned.

Now, New Era understands that IUM has suspended its financial controller Wilfred Muller, whose account allegedly received funds from IUM to finance political activities linked to the Panduleni Itula-led Independent Patriots for Change (IPC).

Yesterday, Muller declined to comment on his purported suspension.

When contacted on the matter, IUM spokesperson  Gerry Munyama accused this reporter and the publication of having an agenda.

“Listen to me, and listen very carefully. I want you to record me, and everything to come out as I said it, otherwise we will not finish,” he warned the reporter.

Munyama continued: “Last week, you said you want closure to the matter, and I told you that our advertorial is the closure, but New Era continued to haunt us. 

I don’t know since when New Era became a tabloid newspaper. You stoop so low, seriously. Next time, New Era will start sniffing in people’s bedrooms to find out who is sleeping with whom.”

Munyama’s reaction stemmed from enquiries regarding the specifics of the conducted investigation.


Paper trail 

IUM’s decision to probe the matter ensued from a New Era report in April that over N$10.5 million was allegedly transferred 
from the IUM account into an account belonging to Rover Trading Enterprises, a company owned by Muller.

Some of these funds were purportedly used to purchase GWM P-Series double-cabs for IPC’s campaigns, while others were allegedly paid to Shikamo Africa, a political advisory and campaign services’ company.

Last month, Muller told this paper
he entered a commercial contractual relationship with IPC for a fixed period.

He, however, asserted that his employment with IUM does not affect his private relationships with any entity he associates with for personal interests.

IUM is regarded as a non-profit organisation, which is regulated by Companies Act No 24 of 2004. The law prohibits non-profit organisations from using their resources to fund the promotion of a political object.

The institution has maintained that it is apolitical, not in support of any political party, nor will it ever involve itself in political sponsorship or affiliation.



Reacting to the latest development, political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah said
while institutions of higher learning are bastions of ideas, they can also harbour academic cartels that do not impede academic freedom. He said this freedom extends to the active participation of staff and students in social and political spheres, albeit with a responsibility to conduct themselves appropriately. “So, as academics, we are public intellectuals, and cannot isolate ourselves from what is happening outside the boundaries of the universities. Of course, it must be done in a responsible manner that will not bring the institution into disrepute,” said the analyst.

Kamwanyah said those involved in politics outside institutions must strike a balance, ensuring they do not drag the institution’s name into the politics they are involved in.

On the other hand, academic institutions must also balance their internal policies to avoid prohibiting people from getting involved in politics. Also adding her voice to the discourse was Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) spokesperson  Dorthea Nangolo, who has called on IUM to play open cards and inform the public what transpired.

“We are calling on the institution to be transparent and share with the public what transpired. If the allegations are true, the management also has to be held accountable,” said the student representative.

It was reported that IPC bought 101 GWM P-Series double-cabs for over N$40 million. The price shown on the GWM Namibia website indicates that one vehicle costs N$549 900. The party has refused to provide information regarding its source of funding.

Responding to a journalist recently when asked about their source of funding, Itula was quoted as saying: “The Independent Patriots for Change, of which I am its elected president, I should advise that there are no statutory obligations placed upon the IPC to account its assets and liabilities to any entity, including a journalist, or indeed an ordinary member of the public.”

–  ashikololo@nepc.com.na