WALVIS BAY – Omaruru constituency councillor Ernest Wetha has been accused of using an entrepreneur’s personal details to obtain a N$60 000 sponsorship for the construction of a safe house and a solar water system in Omaruru.
The businessman, Soini Andreas, who once served as election campaign manager of the Swapo councillor, who took office last year, alleged Wetha approached him in June for a quotation to Erongo RED, where Wetha previously served as a board member.
However, Wetha this week denied any wrongdoing, saying he did approach Andreas for a quote.
Andreas said he did not know the quotation was accepted by Erongo RED, and was shocked when he was called from their head office in October for a briefing on the progress of the project.
“That is how I found out that quotation was accepted, and N$60 000 was awarded for it, while I only quoted for $42 000. The money never reached my company though,” Andreas, who is a welder by profession, explained.
According to Andreas, he requested the documents from Erongo RED to dispute the project was awarded to him, reacting to the fact that he was facing fraud charges for not executing the project.
“The documents show that the councillor transferred the contents from my quotation to a different company letterhead with a fake signature and banking details,” Andreas claimed.
He said, although the letterhead is of another company, the contents are written under his name as well as his contact details.
“I don’t know why he would do this. I also found out that the banking details belong to a close relative of the councillor, in which the N$60 000 was paid in by Erongo RED,” said Andreas.
On his part, Wetha strongly denied the allegations against him.
“I approached Erongo RED to assist the constituency office with the solar pump, as the project is under my office. That is how I approached Andreas, but I found out that his company did not have proper documents and approached the second person. Andreas was supposed to be subcontracted,” the councillor said.
He said, Erongo RED did not approve the solar pump but the safe house, so they decided to prioritise the solar pump.
“I asked a farmer to rehabilitate the borehole so long, which he paid N$3 000 out of his own pocket,” he said.
He also refuted that the bank account where the money was deposited belongs to his daughter, and that he benefitted from it.
According to Wetha, the project falls under his constituency office, and that is why he facilitated the process.
“It is not conflict of interest, nor did I benefit from that money. You can look at all my bank accounts. I did not receive anything,” said the councillor.
The company to which the contract was awarded will refund Erongo RED N$28 000.
Spokesperson for Erongo RED Benjamin Nangombe upon inquiry told New Era they are aware of the alleged irregularities regarding the sponsorship.
“It was brought to our attention, and investigations are underway. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to comment at this juncture due to the possible litigious nature of the matter. However, you can be rest assured that the matter is receiving full attention, and appropriate steps will be taken,” Nangombe said.
He, however, said Erongo RED remains committed to supporting communities, especially in the areas of community and welfare support, education and training, health, environment and sports development.
“We uphold the principles of good corporate governance, and we pride ourselves in being a responsible corporate citizen. We strive to plough back into the communities in which we operate, and it was on this basis that we resolved to sponsor the Omaruru Community Garden for the construction of a storeroom and the procurement of a solar water pump,” Nangombe said.
No case has yet been registered with the police or the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Swapo coordinator for Erongo Daniel Muhuura, when contacted for comment on Monday, also indicated the party was not aware of the matter.
He, however, indicated they would look into it.
Implicated… Omaruru constituency councillor Ernest Wetha