The Omaheke Regional Council is yet to make a final resolution on how best to deal with a contractor who was reportedly paid an amount of N$4,9 million for the rehabilitation and drilling of boreholes in the region but failed to deliver.
This revelation came to light following the visit of the National Council Standing Committee on Habitat that is currently undertaking regional investigative visits on the use of drought relief funds. Omaheke is one of the most drought-affected regions and farmers have lost hundreds of their livestock due to the dry spell.
The committee made the observation when conducting an oversight visit last year in September when money was channelled through to the regional councils as part of the drought relief programme. It was confirmed that some of these funds would be used for the rehabilitation and installation of boreholes in the region.
The Office of the Prime Minister subsequently released funds to 13 regional councils (except Khomas) as emergency drought relief aid as the country was experiencing a devastating drought.
The committee learned that the regional council received close to N$14,7 million, which was fairly distributed amongst its constituencies. The committee’s chairperson Cletius Sipapela said the service provider was contracted for an amount close to N$8 million for the rehabilitation and drilling of boreholes. He further claimed that the company requested an upfront 50% payment before commencing with the service. An amount of N$4,9 million was released to the company allegedly without approval from the regional council’s management committee.
Sipapela feels this puts the blame squarely on the administrative arm of the council as the acting chief regional officer, Karukirue Tjijenda, also approved the payment.
“A 50% payment was made but no services were provided to date by the contractor. Communities are suffering but surely someone should take responsibility for this wrong action,” he said.
Omaheke regional governor Festus Ueitele also confirmed that he was aware of the case, but referred this reporter to the regional council administrative team.
He, however, said the council was expected to sit before providing a final report on the type of action to be taken against the contractor.
Contacted for comment, Omaheke regional council spokesperson Tauno Iikela yesterday confirmed the matter, saying it’s high on the agenda. “The management committee already sat this morning [yesterday morning] to seek recommendations but the matter has been referred to the council where a resolution will be taken,” Iikela said.
The standing committee under the leadership of Sipapela is seriously concerned about the action by the regional council’s administration and has urged them not to allow or approve advanced payments to any contractor unless the service was satisfactorily provided. The committee is hopeful that the council will find an amicable solution, as a matter of urgency.
2020-03-03 07:04:28 | 3 months ago