Oniipa CEO Junias Jakob, who was temporarily removed in mid-November, has been reinstated with immediate effect by the recently sworn-in council.
In an interview yesterday, Jakob said he was humiliated to the core, and the action has left a permanent scar on his profession and career.
“I am trying to apply my mind to the matter, but I can’t forget the humiliation I endured. I have always maintained my innocence. All was done illegally, without due consideration of processes,” Jakob said briefly when contacted for comment.
“I want them to clear my name and leave me alone.” In a notice letter seen by New Era, dated 6 December, newly-elected mayor Hileni Idhogela said the suspension served to Jakob last month is lifted with immediate effect.
Also, she said the eviction notice issued to a security company on 17 November is revoked.
Jakob was suspended last month on allegations of corruption, relating to payments of an electrical tender.
The tender to provide electrical services was awarded to West Trading CC, which sought financial assistance from the Namibia Procurement Fund (NamPro Fund).
However, NamPro Fund had a cessation agreement with West Trading, relating to a financing scheme that was awarded to the contractor as start-up capital.
This deal has since gone sour after Oniipa Town Council, under the stewardship of Jakob, allegedly breached such a contract and paid monies directly to the contractor in contrast to an initial agreement.
Part of the condition was that Oniipa Town Council pays all dues to NamPro Fund’s account, which will then advance whatever remains to West Trading. It is alleged that it is the breach of that specific clause that landed Jakob in hot water, as he approved funds to be paid to West Trading. NamPro Fund is now suing West Trading and its director, while Oniipa Town Council is listed as a respondent.
The breach amounted to N$448 149.24 on 18 November 2020, as well as another amount of N$200 000, advanced into West Trading account on 28 November. The initial tender was for over N$1 million. All these allegations were denied by Jakob, who maintained he is innocent, and a victim of council infighting.
Last week, Minister of Urban and Rural Development Erastus Uutoni wrote to the then-mayor David Kambonde, informing him that council has a resolution to suspend the CEO, adding council was obliged to follow and comply with section 29 (6) (b) of the Local Authorities Act.
“The power to suspend the CEO vests in the council, and cannot be delegated to the management committee – as clearly stipulated in Section 31 (1) (dA) of the Local Authorities Act. In light of the foregoing, council is hereby directed to ensure compliance to the legal process in respect of suspension of staff members in general and the CEO to avoid unnecessary legal challenges,” warned Uutoni in a letter dated 26 November. Last week, re-elected management committee chairperson Jafet Augustus told New Era the minister’s opinion perhaps came a little too late, saying the matter at hand needed urgent intervention. Augustus, at the time, added the only mistake perhaps council did was to react before the minister pronounced himself.
“This was not an issue of the chairperson but a decision that was taken by the council. We had a resolution in place, including minutes, which we all forwarded to the minister. We did everything lawfully. We are, however, prepared to be guided further,” he said. The councillors have been locked in a meeting the entire day, and New Era could not establish on what basis Jakob was reinstated.