ACC arrests ex-Swapo councillors for corrupt recruitment

14 January 2022 | Crime

OGONE TLHAGE



WINDHOEK

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) this week arrested three former Swapo councillors of the Okahandja municipality for illegally appointing a finance executive by skipping the top candidate recommended by an interview panel.

Former deputy mayor Hileni Iita, management committee chairperson Gideon Uwu-Khaeb and management committee member Helmi Maruru were all charged with corruptly using their office or position for self-gratification.

They appeared in the Okahandja District Court yesterday, and were each granted bail of N$10 000.

The three are part of a council that former urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga dissolved in 2020 due to allegations of mismanagement.

The trio are alleged to have unjustifiably resolved and favoured the appointment of Pesella Nunda for the position of strategic executive of finance, information technology and asset management, despite Elifas Hamunyela being the top and/or best performing candidate enlisted for the role, the ACC said.

The interview panel recommended that Hamunyela be appointed to the position, but the three councillors rejected this suggestion and chose Nunda instead.

The State alleged that this took place between March and July 2018.

If convicted, the trio face a fine not exceeding N$500 000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 25 years, or both.

A supporter of the three councillors yesterday said: “Recommendation doesn’t mean the councillors had to agree to what the interview panel recommended. The word itself means the management committee could still change what has been recommended. Maybe the final decision must just be made by the interview panel instead of humiliating people when they differ with what has been recommended”.

The councillors are expected back in court on 15 March.