The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development says investigations at the Grootfontein municipality, where local authority officials are embroiled in allegations of serious maladministration, were at an advanced stage.
The ministry said as soon as investigations are complete, the findings would be shared with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for possible action. The ministry’s executive director, Nghidinua Daniel, told New Era this week they have been working closely with the ACC since the launch of the investigation into the alleged irregularities, dubious land sales and corruption.
Last week, the chairperson of the municipality’s management committee Jack Tsanigab was arrested over corruption allegations and released on bail of N$4 000.
He was arrested for fraud, forgery as well as corruption after he allegedly falsified a loan application document and an income certificate.
“It is true that the ministry, in the past years, received complaints about suspected maladministration and the like at Grootfontein municipality,” Daniel told New Era this week.
“In response, the ministry last year commissioned a formal special investigation covering various focal areas – compliance to set legal provisions or requirements such as regular council meetings and meeting records as required by the Local Authorities Act, general financial management and accountability, land transactions and capital budget expenditure. The investigation report compilation is in its final stage.”
Over the years, the Grootfontein municipality has been marred by allegations of corruption, nepotism, staff victimisation and dubious land sales.
“The investigation was for the period before the assumption of duty of the current CEO and the reported new developments or suspected irregularities will also be looked into. The ministry has been open to and used to work closely with ACC, and the outcome of the investigation will obviously be shared with the commission,” Daniel said.
New CEO of the municipality Kisco Sinvula has also been implicated and accused of corruption by finance executive Ileni Hainghumbi, who claimed Sinvula’s company was dubiously allocated land at the town shortly after he became CEO.
Hainghumbi claimed this included a 10-hectare plot under a public-private partnership, 100 erven for low-cost housing, to which he accused Sinvula of failing to pay for the land.
Sinvula has dismissed allegations against him, saying he recused himself from meetings that discussed the issue.
He also said he had declared his interests to council and applied for his family’s exit from the KC and SG Consortium that was awarded the land.
On the other hand, Hainghumbi is also been pursued by council for transgression of misconduct and insubordination for allegedly refusing to carry instructions from his seniors.
He has been charged for having allegedly made unauthorised transactions amounting to over N$700 000.
In fact, Hainghumbi was suspended in January 2019 and reinstated in April. He has since maintained his innocence.
He argued that he is being made a target by a clique of officials and councillors whose “only interest is looting the council”.
‘I am innocent’
Meanwhile, Sinvula said he was not part of a plot victimising council employees.
“I am not victimising anyone; I just came to this organisation and found the issues already there. As an accounting officer, I am just implementing council resolutions not that I am targeting anyone; all we want is to conclude all the disciplinary actions and any other pending issues,” said Sinvula.
Last week, Hainghumbi told New Era he believes he is innocent and thus challenged anyone to find him guilty.