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Home / Police investigate cadet recruitment…cop allegedly sneaks quartet through backdoor
Police investigate cadet recruitment…cop allegedly sneaks quartet through backdoor
2023-08-18Loide Jason The Namibian Police are investigating the alleged fraudulent recruitment of four cadets who made it into the ongoing police training at the Ruben Danger Ashipala Training Centre at Ondangwa.On Tuesday, the police dispatched a team of three investigators from the national headquarters in Windhoek to get to the bottom of the matter.Those who allegedly benefited from the dodgy arrangement have been identified, and are known to New Era. However, their names cannot be revealed as they are unreachable to provide their side of the story.The sources claim that the alleged beneficiaries were never shortlisted for the initial recruitment. They also did not undergo the rigorous and mandatory physical and medical examinations, it is further stated. At the centre of the scandal is Ashipala Nicanor Tweumuna, a deputy commissioner within the office of the deputy inspector general for operations, who allegedly accepted a N$4 000 bribe for each person’s placement on the final recruitment list of cadets. The money, New Era understands, was paid to Tweumuna in cash. The investigation was confirmed to this paper by police chief, inspector general (IG) Joseph Shikongo earlier this week. This was in response to questions by this paper after members of the public had tipped off this journalist about potential graft in police recruitment.Shikongo confirmed three of the names among the ‘successful’ cadet candidates. “I can confirm that we have a police officer by that name [Tweumuna] in the Namibian Police, working in the office of the inspector general for operations. I can also confirm that three out of the five names requested are featured in our list of cadet candidates. However, I do not know whether they have ended [up] in the training with money [being] involved,” he said. Shikongo added: “I directed that three police officers from the national police headquarters conduct an investigation on the said allegations. Upon completion of the investigation, the investigating officers should make a determination on the validity of the allegations, and take the required and necessary actions to address the matter.”This information came to light after a concerned group of residents from the informal settlement of Havana petitioned the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), claiming that five individuals currently undergoing police training at the centre were corruptly admitted. The ACC confirmed receiving the petition. On Wednesday, Shikongo confirmed receiving a directive from the ACC to carry out the investigation. Another individual, who spoke to New Era and also signed the ACC petition, alleged that community leader Hambeleleni Hamukwaya has handsomely benefited from the police’s recent recruitment, as three of his children are currently undergoing training.When contacted, Hamukwaya denied knowing them, stating: “I do not know those people. I can’t afford to pay them N$4 000 because I do not have the money and also need money.”DenialWhen New Era contacted him on Monday, Tweumuna refuted the allegations, and referred all questions to Shikongo.However, accompanied by his legal representative from Sisa Namandje & Co, Tweumuna was at New Era’s premises the next day. This time, it was with the aim of halting the publication of the article about his alleged questionable dealings.He would later agree to provide a written response, telling his side of the story.He did. The police officer denied the accusations, asserting that they lacked accuracy and were designed to tarnish his reputation. His legal team said he was nowhere close to the police force’s recruitment process, and challenged this paper to provide proof of the alleged payments he received.“Our client’s position is that your allegations are devoid of any truth, and simply meant to violate our client’s dignity and damage his good name and reputation. Your allegations are wholly inaccurate and defamatory,” reads part of the legal notice.The lawyers reiterated that Tweumuna is not involved in the recruitment process of the police. “He works in the operations directorate, but not the human resources directorate. He has no oversight and/or influence on any of the recruitment processes,” reads another part. It continues: “Our client vehemently denies being paid the amount of N$5 000 by the six people you indicated. Our client has not received the total amount of N$30 000. We challenge you to provide us with proof of payment in that aspect.”Interestingly, Tweumuna acknowledged knowing some trainees accused of entering the recruitment through the backdoor. Cooks“Since our client usually buys food from them, he used to request them to prepare food for the team if they were not busy on that specific date,” the lawyers said.The lawyers hastened to point out that Tweumuna is the chairperson of the Khomas Nampol Football Club, which was recently promoted to the country’s premier league.ThreatsTweumuna’s legal team warned that if the article is published, he would pursue legal action against the newspaper. “Should you continue to publish the article despite our various requests not to do so, we shall institute civil actions against your entity for defamation in the amount of N$500 000 plus interest and costs on a punitive scale and an order to declare your article false, and an order to unconditionally retract your said article and unreservedly apologise to our client within two days of the court order for the harm caused. “Your entity as the conveyor of the rumour tarnishing our client’s reputation and dignity shall be wholly liable for your actions,” the lawyers threatened.Anti-graftOn his part, ACC director general Paulus Noa acknowledged receipt of the petition, confirming its entry into the initial registration phase.He indicated that they will review the petition, before emphasising that an investigation would ensue once further details are evaluated. “I am informed that the petition is taken in for registration as per procedure, and will come to my office thereafter. I will study the petition, and will advise accordingly. Of course, the investigation will commence as soon as I make a comment on the matter,” Noa said. -email@example.com 2023-08-18Loide Jason