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Rehoboth mayor asks ACC to probe council employees

2021-05-24  Loide Jason

Rehoboth mayor asks ACC to probe council employees

The mayor of the Rehoboth Town Council has urged the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate some employees whom he accused of fraud.

 Rudi van Wyk wrote to the acting director of the ACC Paulus Noa on Wednesday last week, requesting him to investigate Ulrich Khachab, who is employed as housing and properties officer at the Rehoboth Town Council. The latter allegedly fraudulently received N$5 000 from a client who is desperately in need of accommodation.

According to Van Wyk, the amount was paid to Khachab to secure an erf for the needy client upfront to the benefit of the employee who is using his office for his gratification, in contravention of the Anti-corruption Act.

“I would like to submit the following grievances or alleged misconduct to your good office in terms of the personnel rules of the Rehoboth Town Council for your attention and action,” he informed Noa.

 He emphasised that part 3; rule 28 sub-rule (1) of the personnel rules of the council state that the council, the management committee and the chief executive officer (CEO) must maintain discipline in the staff establishment, and ensure that all staff members are treated fairly and consistently.

“I want to register alleged fraud/corruption cases against the following staff members with immediate effect for your action, being the CEO and the action manager: corporate affairs and human resources development, for gross abuse of authority, gross negligence, improper conduct, carelessness, alternatively conspiracy, corruption and obstructing the course of justice,” he stated.

He said he has made that request to an investigating body because if there is no discipline, a vacuum is created for chaos at the council, which will be detrimental to staff members, the council and the community at large.

Van Wyk attached a sworn declaration by a certain Patricia Geingos, who claimed that she paid an amount of N$5 000 to Khachab on 21 August 2020.

“I have on several occasions applied for an erf, starting in 2016, at the Rehoboth Town Council, but my applications did not deliver the necessary fruits. Hence, I am still homeless. As a last resort after I was convinced under false pretence by Khachab, I send the N$5 000 via the First National Bank cellphone banking E-wallet method.  I, therefore, declare under oath that I was placed in a tight spot, and in the hope of getting an erf, I have fallen prey to the vicious cycle,” she stated.

Contacted for comment, Noa said he has been out of office for the past weeks, hence did not receive the complaint from the mayor.

“In the meantime, I would like to know what the council has done to deal with the staff reported internally. They have the power to charge those people internally,” he observed.

 Noa explained that if the report is received, the ACC will investigate both the accused and the victim.

“If we find concrete evidence that the money was paid by the victim and received by the suspect, we will arrest both because they are all guilty and corrupted,” he stressed.

Noa said he will only shed more light on the matter when he gets to the office on Monday.

The town’s embattled CEO, Simeon Kanime, refused to comment as he has apparently not received any cases from the council. 

“I did not receive anything. Therefore, I have nothing to say,” he added.

Van Wyk recently sent an 87-page dossier to various persons and entities, with photographic evidence, alleging corruption, gross negligence and gross abuse of authority, among an array of administrative failings. 

The youthful mayor, who swept to power following last year’s November local authority elections on the ticket of the Rehoboth Independent Town Management Association (RITMA), which he co-founded, laid out the allegations in a letter to the chairperson of the management committee, Hardap governor and the minister of urban and rural development. 

He said the matters are serious and are charges of “governance negligence and lack of accountability and, therefore, need your urgent attention and action”.

“I would like to make it crystal clear that this document is only the tip of all the problems not addressed or poorly done,” reads the letter.

2021-05-24  Loide Jason

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