EVMs unprocedurally handed to Swapo

01 November 2019 | Politics

The ministry of finance did not grant approval for the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to lend the missing electronic voting machines (EVMs) to Swapo, as is stipulated by the State Finance Act, officials have said.

ECN chairperson Notemba Tjipueja said in a statement published this week: “The Swapo Party has since paid the requisite amount to the Receiver of Revenue as payment for the missing EVM units.”

Namibian Sun has established that Swapo paid N$32 000 in February this year for the missing EVMs, but Treasury is unaware how this amount – which it had not approved – was arrived at.

The State Finance Act stipulates that state property may only be lent out with Treasury approval.

The Act states further that the rate at which such items are lent must be determined by Treasury.

It is not clear whether the N$32 000 paid by Swapo included interest accrued since the EVMs were lost in July 2017.

Finance spokesperson Tonateni Shidhudhu said Treasury rules had not been followed in the matter.

“As per the Teasury instructions, we have not seen a report from ECN informing Treasury about the missing state property [EVMs].

Thus, it remains difficult for us to ascertain whether there was payment made,” he said when asked to verify Tjipueja's assertion that the ruling party had paid for the lost items.

He referred all further questions to the ECN, which had previously said it did not want to comment on the subject extensively due to its sensitivity.

The EVMs were signed out by justice minister Sacky Shanghala for use at the 2017 Swapo Party Elders Council (SPEC) elective congress. Shanghala was a returning officer for the congress election.

The minister last week issued a statement in which he said he took responsibility for the missing machines, which he said had fallen out of a trailer as they were being transported to Windhoek from Outapi where the SPEC congress was held.

STAFF REPORTER

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