The mayor of Helao Nafidi, Elias Nghipangelwa, has expressed disappointment after Covid-19 relief food was stolen and sold by two security officers entrusted to guard the warehouse where the food was stored.
The food is meant to feed more than 4000 families in the Ohangwena region.
Nghipangelwa said the plunder took place last Thursday after a community member blew the whistle, which precipitated an investigation and some of the virus relief food allegedly stolen by the duo was recovered.
The mayor said the two security officers stationed at Helao Nafidi town council are employed by Shilimela security and that they were arrested together with another person who they had hired to sell food for them.
The guards are suspected to have worked together with some council officials who are still under investigation.
“To be honest, first I should render my apology to the members of the community around the town that was supposed to receive food. We trusted the officials and we did not expect them to get involved in theft. We have received a lot of food and we have only distributed a few to two locations. The majority of our people did not receive such food,” he said.
The mayor said the town council through virus relief committee members registered more than 3000 beneficiaries and the town council received more than 4000 food parcels for possible distribution to the beneficiary community.
Nghipangelwa said the stolen food include maize flour, macaroni, cooking oil and canned fish as well as packets of sugar.
“We have received 3000 10kg maize flour bags and 1038 boxes of canned fish from the Risk Disaster Management programme through the regional council. Other food were donated by the local business community and Chinese donated food enough for 750 families. About 300 bags of 5kg top score flour were also donated by other Good Samaritans. Imagine receiving enough food, promising people that you will give them food but later the food is stolen. This is disheartening,” he explained.
The distribution of some of the food began last Wednesday and it was during the distributions that it was noted the available stock did not correspond to what was donated by the Chinese business community and other donors.
The shocked mayor said the council was notified by the members of the public that there was an individual who was caught selling some of the food.
Some of the food was hidden at a sports field by the two guards who confessed to having stolen and hid the Covid-19 relief food.
He said the stolen items are now in the hands of the police thus he cannot disclose the exact figure and that investigations are still at an infancy stage. The duo will soon appear in court.