WALVIS BAY – The Anti-Corruption Commission says its current investigation into the alleged corruption and lack of transparency in the mass urban land servicing project, as well as the reportedly unaccounted N$24 million at the Walvis Bay municipality, is not compromised.
The ACC cleared the air after the integrity of senior investigating officer in the Erongo region Frieda Kanyama was questioned by a pressure group due to her possible alleged links at the local municipality.
Kanyama and her team in Erongo on Wednesday confiscated from senior officials desktop computers, laptop cellular devices as well as other equipment as part of an ongoing investigation at the municipality into land and housing deals.
The seized equipment belong to among others, CEO Muronga Haingura, general manager Victor Agostinho, manager of housing and properties Jack Manale as well as the property clerk Connie Summers.
“I can guarantee you that our officers are not compromised. They take an oath when they take up office,” said ACC spokesperson Josefina Nghituwamhata.
“Whenever there is conflict of interest definitely it will be indicated to the head of investigations and they know their duties even if they are related to anyone that is being investigated.”
She also told New Era that they now have a capable team to carry out the financial forensic investigation, unlike in the past.
“We had challenges in the past but lately we have a sub-division that was formed in 2018 to deal with these types of cases. We also recently appointed the head of the forensic department who started in November and is working alongside three other capable investigators. Hence investigations will be different with less challenges as they are quite capable as they all specialised in this specific field,” she said.
According to her, the mass urban land servicing project case dates back to 2018 and was reported due to an alleged lack of transparency during the allocation and selling of houses under the programme.
The latest case is that of the reportedly unaccounted N$24 million that was brought to the fore in November by former Walvis Bay Urban constituency councillor Knowledge Ipinge.
“The cases were just combined as they are inter-related and are from the same institution, hence it made sense to conduct the investigations at the same time,” she said.
About 980 houses were built under the programme between 2015 and 2019, whereby the municipality provided land to 42 contractors for the construction of homes and which is now part of the unaccounted N$24 million.
Meanwhile, Ipinge has once again emphasised that the municipality’s top management owes residents a better explanation or should find the missing money instead of saying that it is in the suspense account.
“I had a valid reason not to adopt the Walvis Bay municipality’s audited annual financial statements for the financial year ending 30 June 2018 as that money is genuinely unaccounted for,” Ipinge said yesterday.
The financial statements were presented at the Erongo Regional Council’s ordinary meeting in October while Ipinge was still in office. However, Ipinge who was also instrumental in laying a charge against the municipality last month, said the missing money, according to him, is part of the mass urban land servicing programme that was initiated in 2015 following a meeting between the government and the Affirmative Repositioning movement.
“We know that N$230 million was paid by the municipality to contractors who built the houses for the applicants with whom the municipality signed deeds of sale. However, N$24 million has been registered in the homeowners’ names, but the money never reached the municipality’s banking accounts till date and does not reflect on the audited financial statements,” Ipinge said.
Haingura, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, had in an earlier interview with New Era on the issue said that there was no money missing from the project at all.
Haingura added the money in question was in a suspense account and not unaccounted.
“I can confirm that we have money available in our account and we are busy reconciling. Money paid over by banks without a reference or an erf number is put in a suspense account until we can verify and allocate it to the right accounts,” he said earlier.
When contacted for comment yesterday, Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes referred New Era to the spokesperson Kevin Adams who at the time of going to print had not yet responded to questions sent to him.