Grootfontein municipality parks damning report

A ministerial audit report, which was submitted to the Grootfontein town council late last year and only discussed in March this year, has been kept under wraps.

27 July 2021 | Government

KENYA KAMBOWE

RUNDU

Despite the ministerial audit report on the Grootfontein municipality urging swift remedial action to be taken against those implicated, the local authority is yet to take decisive action against its former acting CEO, Arnold Ameb was fingered in the report.

Ameb, who is the strategic executive of property at the Grootfontein municipality, was acting as CEO from April 2018 until February 2020, when Kisco Sinvula was appointed.

During Ameb’s tenure at the helm of the local authority, the urban and rural development ministry instituted a forensic audit into its affairs.

The report, which was submitted to the council late last year and only discussed in March this year, has been kept under wraps while Sinvula has been implementing the remedial actions advised in the report.

Some of the remedial actions implemented so far are the discontinuation of 40% payment of housing and car allowances to employees who don’t deserve it, as well as issuing letters of demand to those who lease council land but have not been paying.

‘Swift action’

However, the local authority has not implemented some of the remedial actions, especially those aimed at bringing Ameb to book, despite the report urging that swift action must be taken.

Ameb was quoted in a daily newspaper this week as saying that he cannot comment on the allegations.

According to the report, the council and the CEO should hold Ameb accountable for not compiling a property register and enforcing the update of the property register, as well as for not opening individual files. This, according to the report, include the initiation of disciplinary steps.

Furthermore, the report also found that Ameb and the former council were responsible for selling land on a non-cost-recovery basis.

“The former acting CEO must be brought to book through an appropriate disciplinary process for making a donation without ministerial approval,” the report reads.

“The council and former acting CEO must be held accountable for the payment of NALASRA games without budget provisions and using unauthorised S&T rate 1 while accommodation is fully paid.

“The former acting CEO must be held accountable for the missing N$149 846.40. In order to realise this council must refer the matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission and or the Namibian police.”

According to the report, in order to remedy the findings of the investigations, the council must take immediate remedial action to implement the findings of the ministry.

“Some of the findings are very serious, the contraventions are flagrant and breach the relevant legislation (s) and policies. Swift action is warranted to remedy the situation,” it read.

When asked what action has been taken against Ameb, Sinvula said the council had sought legal advice on the matter.

“The council solicited legal advice given the seriousness and severity of the findings and recommendations. This process is strictly confidential and must be treated as such, thus any publication infringes on employee rights and privileges,” Sinvula said.

Simvula also said that all allegations of fraud and theft in ministerial audit report were already reported to the Namibian Police prior to the ministerial investigations.

Hainghumbi exonerated

Another finding in the report is that former strategic executive of finance Ileni Hainghumbi’s suspension in December 2019 was not done procedurally and that he should be reinstated.

Hainghumbi resigned in November last year.

Ameb was instrumental in suspending Hainghumbi.

According to the report, Hainghumbi was suspended without council or ministerial approval.

This was confirmed by former mayor Abisai Haimene when contacted for comment this week.

Haimene said Hainghumbi was suspended during the office bearers recess that December and when the council met later, they instructed Hainghumbi to be reinstated.

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