Oshakati ex-Mayor got his money but blows his fuse
OSHAKATI ex-Mayor Ben Kathindi yesterday ran against a brick wall allegedly built by himself when the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) launched a damning counter-attack on his claims of not having being paid for 20 months.
The NHE yesterday during a press conference of its top leadership and the project’s quantity surveyors, proved in black and white that it had actually paid the monies due to Ben Kathindi Architects in full, and up to date, and that only 25% of the remaining supervision fees, totaling N$460 000 till the period ending 31 January 2012, is outstanding, provided that it is paid after the completion of the last stage.
The housing parastatal boasted yesterday that to date, it had paid out 75% of the professional fees amounting to N$967 643.44 and a disbursement of N$186 981.52, in all totaling N$1,154,624.96 to Kathindi and Ongwediva Consultants in 2009 and in 2010 in line with the agreement between the parties.
“Given the above facts and background, one is to left with no choice but to draw the conclusion that the unprecedented behaviour and action of B Kathindi last week Friday were motivated by problems and challenges he may be facing in his personal and or professional life, rather than the so-called NHE debt he is claiming and that the NHE is simply made a scapegoat here unfortunately,” the statement by NHE Chief Executive Officer Vinson Hailulu. In earlier developments on Friday, Kathindi claimed not having been paid for 20 months after completion of a job.
That apparently prompted him to chain himself to the rails at the entrance of the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) building. He drew a big crowd of onlookers, including the Minister of Justice, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and senior members of the Namibian Police on Friday.
The row started when he accused the Technical Manager of the NHE, Uazuva Kaumbi, and Hailulu of allegedly playing delaying tactics about paying out N$460 000, later reduced to N$214 000, while negotiations about the initial amount of N$460 000 were still going on.
Kathindi, during a short press briefing on Sunday, accuses the housing developer of playing hide and seek tactics with his company, Ben Kathindi Architects, Kuutumbeni B. Kathindi (Architect, MNIA) and his appointed consultants. Kathindi’s Architects were appointed by the NHE in 2008 for the design and drawings for the Eenhana Housing Project valued at an upset price of N$14,9 for a commission of 12 %.
The Eenhana three-storey Housing Project is, according to Kathindi, the first of its type in the country to be initiated by the NHE since independence and Kathindi Architects appointed engineers and quantity surveyors who he expected to pay from the money paid for their work.
The money could have amounted to approximately N$1,9 Million if there were no alterations to the original plans. “In Namibia you should put something in somebody’s hands in exchange for what you are supposed to get. Corruption of this type is rife in the country and I’m saying this because I could smell it during my negotiations with the NHE and its managers. “Why is someone in a parastatal given so much power to abuse? Why are officials getting so much protection? We are not paid fully for a job we did over 20 months,” Kathindi asked.
Kathindi expected than that the matter would receive attention yesterday as it was also the case. He also promised that he would keep the newspaper abreast of developments surrounding the payment saga, as he expected Government to intervene. Before he resigned last week as the Mayor of Oshakati, Kathindi served as Under-Secretary in the Ministry of Works.
He is one of the first black architects in the country who worked under the late Nico Bessinger and was also instrumental in the drawings for the new State House and the Hero’s Acre.