WALVIS BAY - Former CEO of the Walvis Bay Municipality, Muronga Haingura is suing the Walvis Bay municipality, activist Knowledge Ipinge as well as Gertrude Usiku, the employee relations officer for N$1.5 million.
Haingura, through his lawyer, Richard Metcalfe from Metcalfe Beukes Attorneys, filed a combined summons with the High Court of Namibia, saying all three defendants failed to determine or investigate the allegations of the N$24 million that allegedly went missing from the municipality.
As a result, Metcalfe said his client suffered severe damage to his reputation, emotional hurt, stress, humiliation and anxiety while his right to privacy, dignity and reputation were violated.
“Hence the defendants are liable for my client’s general damages for loss of reputation, emotional stress, humiliation, right of privacy, dignity and reputation that was violated in the sum of N$1.5 million,” the summons seen by New Era reads.
According to Metcalfe, his client was responsible for the execution and supervision of the massive urban land servicing project.
Over 800 houses were built through the programme at Walvis Bay.
However, irregularities were allegedly detected resulting in Ipinge laying charges against the municipality.
Council then suspended four employees, including Haingura, who spearheaded the planning and payment processes of the project between April 2020 and September 2020, when allegations of the misappropriated N$24 million of the municipality surfaced.
“The second defendant, who served as a councillor on the Erongo Regional Council, publicly stated that there was a concern about a N$24 million discrepancy in the first defendant’s audited financial statements. My client in November 2020, stated to the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) that the funds were not misappropriated. He said the funds were invested in a suspense account of the municipality,” Metcalfe explained in the summons.
According to the summons, Ipinge on 5 November 2020 demanded answers from the municipality and publicly rejected Haingura’s explanation to the effect that the funds did not reflect because of a banking error. He said the explanation was false.
Metcalfe said that the third defendant, Usiku, also publicly rejected Haingura’s explanation and stated on national television that he lied to the public.
“The municipality publicly also stated on 1 December that my client was suspended and was investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission. The defendants acted with a common purpose, alternatively, the first defendant is vicariously liable for the actions of Usiku who was acting in the course and scope of her employment,” Metcalfe explained in the summons.
He added that the defendants failed to change public perception or to investigate the matter and they did not disclose that the funds are not missing in the media as the allegations were highly publicised and shared on social media.
“They failed to properly investigate the allegations before responding to the media. The effect of the publications and actions was to paint Haingura as dishonest, corrupt, criminal, not to be trusted and a person without honour or dignity,” Metcalfe said.
Contacted by New Era, Ipinge confirmed on Tuesday that he received the summons on Friday afternoon from the sheriff at Walvis Bay.
“Yes, I received it while I was sipping Masala Chai tea. I just stepped out from a consultation with my fearless lawyer Kadhila Amoomo, who will deal with the matter moving forward.
Meanwhile, Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes indicated that he has not received the summons yet.
“I will have to liaise with my office to see if they indeed received it already,” Forbes said.