Millions diverted from disaster fund to revamp old State House
This occurred during a period when the country was battling with the worst drought in years.
This diversion is seen as a contravention because it does not meet the fund’s objectives, according to the AG report for the years 2014 to 2017.
The fund was created to serve as a contingency fund and for the development and promotion of disaster risk management in the country.
The AG flagged two transactions that took place in 2014 and 2016 that provide insight on how the fund was used to pay for the renovation works at the old State House, which now serves as the Office of the Vice President.
“The auditors noted that the fund received money from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) for security installation and renovation for the OPM head office as well as the renovation of the Old State House, amounting to N$4.4 million in 2014 and N$27.9 million in 2016, which does not meet the objective of the fund, which states that the objective for which the fund is established is to serve as a contingency fund and for the development and promotion of disaster risk management in Namibia,” the report states.
More questions raised
Another questionable expense was money earmarked for the ministry of agriculture. The AG questioned why the ministry had received funding from the fund despite having its own funds available.
“The auditors noted that the ministry of agriculture transferred funds to the National Disaster Fund, which were earmarked and appropriated under the ministry, amounting to N$161 million in 2014, N$14 million in 2015, and N$16 million in 2017. However, the ministry has not depleted its fund as stated in Sub-Regulation (9)2,” the AG said.
Sub-regulation (9) requires the committee to release contingency funds from the fund if the regional council, local authority or government institution has depleted its funds for disaster risk management.
Rally for Democracy and Progress leader Mike Kavekotora questioned the allocation of money from the Disaster Fund to fund renovations at the old State House, arguing that government monies were being misappropriated.
“My concern is that we have a situation where the majority of Namibians are living in abject poverty, on the other hand, government is spending money like it has an abundance of money. It is not a priority to spend money to renovate an old State House when there is a new State House that has offices that are under-utilised,” Kavekotora said.
“It is a loss of vision – that is why unnecessary expenditure will be the order of the day. I’m not surprised the auditors highlighted that the renovation of the old State House is not adding any penny to the economy,” Kavekotora said.