Eveline de Klerk
WALVIS BAY – The Walvis Bay conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers into the housing irregularities at the municipality is implicating more employees. This was revealed yesterday to New Era by one of the local councillors, who spoke on condition of anonymity. According to the councillor, the findings of the report is damming in terms of administrative issues and payments done without proper procedures.
It is also pointing to some heads of department, who failed to perform their duties properly. Council last week reinstated its CEO Muronga Haingura, manager for community affairs Agostinho Victor, general manager for housing Jack Manale, and property clerk Connie Summers, who were on suspension since December last year due to an ongoing investigation regarding housing irregularities and missing funds.
They are expected to return to work tomorrow. The four were suspended to pave way for a forensic audit report, shortly after former Walvis Bay Urban constituency councillor Knowledge Ipinge laid a charge against the municipality for N$24 million that allegedly went missing during the construction and selling of houses through the massive urban land servicing project at that town.
Council opted to part ways with Haingura, who was earlier this month served with an official notice after a council resolution was taken not to renew his employment contract. His second term ends in November this year.
He has been serving as CEO since 2011. “The forensic report does not implicate some of the suspended officials – but on the other hand, it implicates their subordinates,” the councillor said yesterday.
Adding that they, after lengthy discussions, concluded to rather reinstate the suspended employees and then start taking action against the guilty ones. “We made hasty, emotional decisions. We didn’t have all the facts and approached the whole matter wrongly by suspending the top officials while the main culprits continued with business as usual,” the councillor said yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) also questioned the reinstatement of the four employees, saying they were left in the dark as to why the suspensions were lifted. Acting national spokesperson for LPM Eneas Emvula in a statement Friday said none of the LPM Walvis Bay leadership received any communication concerning the details of the procedure followed that resulted in the reinstatement.
“We don’t know if any investigations were conducted and finalised leading to the reinstatement of the four previously suspended officials, as this decision was made while our seat was still vacant. We find the reinstatement in the absence of an investigation report to all affected parties very unfortunate,” Emvula said. Emvula assured Walvis Bay residents they will get to the bottom of what transpired and the legal procedures that justified such a reinstatement.
“We shall surely make our findings public on this issue,” he said. Chairperson of the management committee Leroy Victor told New Era the employees were only suspended to pave way for the forensic report to be carried out unhindered.
“The report has been completed and handed over to council. It is about 200 pages and we have requested that it be summarised in an executive report and released to the media,” he said. Leroy added they will now consult with the human resource department and experts to make a decision with regards to officials.
Ipinge yesterday told New Era that it is a very dangerous tone set by the council. “The biggest question still remains unclear – whether the reinstated employees are cleared of all the suspicion that led to their suspension or brought back to be formally charged,” Ipinge said.
He says council should urgently reveal the findings of the audit report so that residents can acquaint themselves with it.