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ACC investigates suspected Omuthiya graft

2019-07-22  Obrien Simasiku

ACC investigates suspected Omuthiya graft

OMUTHIYA -The Omuthiya Town Council is under probe from Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigators following allegations of corruption against the local authority councillors. 

ACC chief public relations officer, Josefina Nghituwamata, confirmed the ongoing investigation. The probe comes after New Era broke the news last month of the corruption and nepotism allegations levelled against four councillors – the mayor Katrina Uusiku, her deputy Heskiel Nanyeni, management committee chairperson Beata Nashongo and ordinary management committee member Enos Shipahu. 

“I am writing to confirm that the Anti-Corruption Commission launched an investigation on alleged corrupt practices at the Omuthiya Town Council.  The ACC initiated the investigation as per the reported articles in the media on the 21 and 25 June 2019 respectively on the alleged corrupt practices at the Omuthiya Town Council.  Investigations are ongoing, therefore we are unable to divulge more information,” she stated upon inquiry.

Meanwhile, the council’s chief executive officer, Samuel Mbango, could neither confirm nor deny the investigation. “I have been hearing rumours also that ACC will be conducting an investigation; I am not sure how true this is,” he said when contacted for comment.

This is a second investigation to that carried out by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development in June and earlier this month under the instruction of the minister Peya Mushelenga, of which New Era is reliably informed there was probable evidence incriminating some of the accused councillors. This reporter was further informed the investigating committee is busy compiling a report, and that the urban and rural development minister will pronounce himself upon its finalisation.  

The four councillors have all vehemently denied allegations of corruptly leasing and occupying several plots at the expense of the community and they also deny allegations of nepotism and specifically giving jobs to relatives, as alleged by the outgoing CEO.

The alleged corrupt activities came to the fore in a leaked letter from the outgoing CEO to Mushelenga where he detailed alleged shady dealings of the councillors, accusing them of using their positions for self-gratification and nepotism. 

Mbango had further accused the councillors of having a personal vendetta against him for allegedly speaking out and rejecting some unethical dealings.

Mbango’s revelations come after he was served with a letter notifying him that the council will not renew his contract when it expires on August 31 and that the coveted position of CEO at Omuthiya will be advertised. 

Mayor Uusiku is fingered for allegedly having pushed for the employment of her husband and refusing to vacate three plots – erven 1244, 1245 and 1246 at Extension 5 – which she had been compensated for already. She is also accused of having dished an industrial erf to herself. 

Nanyeni is accused of having leased himself a plot Erf 1295 at Extension 5 where he built flats in an effort to buy it after five years, but he has not done so to date. 

Nashongo is accused of a witch-hunt after council had deducted monies from her allowance after she failed to return council chairs that she had borrowed. 

She is further accused of nepotism for pushing for jobs for people she knows. Mbango cited the recruitment of a finance and human resource manager in 2017, who had come second in the interviews with 66.6 percent at the expense of an internal staff member who came tops with 77.8 percent. 
Shipahu is accused of having a hand in the sale of the Swapo land Erf 2 in Omuthiya proper, as well as leasing a number of plots to himself without ministerial approval.

All the four councillors have vehemently denied involvement in any corrupt dealings.  

2019-07-22  Obrien Simasiku

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