WALVIS BAY – The Walvis Bay municipality has dismissed claims that millions of dollars meant for the massive urban land servicing project has not been explained.
Walvis Bay Urban constituency councillor Knowledge Ipinge last week refused to adopt the Walvis Bay municipality’s audited annual financial statements for the financial year ending 30 June 2018, saying there is N$24 million unaccounted for.
The financial statements were presented at the Erongo Regional Council’s ordinary meeting held on Wednesday in Swakopmund. Regional councils are expected to carry out certain functions related to local authority councils in their area, in particular, and to local government in general.
A regional council has the power to receive and peruse minutes of local councils within its jurisdiction,
together with the relevant agenda and any related documents and reports. This enables a regional council to appraise the decisions of local authority councils within its area and to take appropriate corrective measures when needed. The said money, according to Ipinge, is part of the massive urban land servicing project (MULSP) that was initiated in 2015 following a meeting between the government and the Affirmative Repositioning movement.
Through the agreement, the municipality identified at least 10 extensions for servicing to construct about 2 000 houses at the town. “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 with. However, N$24 million has been registered into the homeowner’s names, but the money never reached the municipality’s banking accounts till date and does not reflect on the audited financial statements presented to us.
Hence through the powers vested in me, I do not accept this audited report,” Ipinge claimed. According to Ipinge, the municipality should provide the regional council with detailed feedback on the missing money or he will be forced to lay charges against the individuals and entities liable for the alleged missing money.
‘No money missing’
Meanwhile, Walvis Bay municipal CEO Muronga Haingura in an interview with New Era said there was no money missing from the project at all. He explained the council provided land for the said housing while the line ministry provided funding for the 42 contractors that built the houses for more than 2 000 beneficiaries.
He added the actual arrangement was once the property is registered, the bank would issue the loan to the buyer. “Upon issuing of the loans, the banks will then equally also pay for the houses. The process takes time and our contractors were bleeding hence council took a decision to assist the contractors from council’s own funds,” he said. 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.
We are now in the process of reconciling that money by approaching banks and other financial institutions and we have more than N$24 million in our accounts that is not yet allocated.
I came across very smart law enforcement officers that will be able to pick up any irregularities and arrest anyone who is guilty,” Haingura said.