'I'm not a thief'

The Swapo secretary-general has reacted angrily to allegations that she took a bribe to award a contract for building the new party headquarters.

29 June 2018 | Politics

Swapo Party secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa has vehemently denied an allegation that she has received 44 million Kenyan shillings (nearly N$6 million) as a kickback for having awarded Jack Mutua Architects the contract to design the new building.

An email sent anonymously to the media makes this claim and further alleges that the money was paid into a Kenyan bank account to benefit her brother, Ignatius Shaningwa.

The email also alleges that the building costs of the new headquarters were inflated by N$200 million and that it would now cost N$400 million instead of the N$150 million to N$200 million it was “supposed” to cost.

Moreover, it alleges that Shaningwa had “threatened” the CEO of Kalahari Holdings, Christian Maketo, to sign a debt guarantee agreement with the contractor before the project could start.

“In the history of this country I, Sophia Shaningwa, was never corrupt,” the SG fumed.

“I am a person of integrity. I do not go for shoddy work; I go for quality and standards.”

She also urged law enforcement agencies to investigate the allegations of her taking a bribe of any kind.

“I am requesting with all urgency that Nampol and Interpol get into my [bank] accounts locally and internationally and to arrest any money and return it to whom it belongs to,” Shaningwa said.

Shaningwa had earlier come under fire for allegedly having awarded a construction contract in Mariental to her brother, Ignatius, which she also vigorously denied.

Of the recent emailed allegations Shaningwa said: “All corrupt people will talk about me. They won't stop me from doing what is right. We cannot allow Swapo to operate from an office that looks like a residential house. Swapo is the ruling party. The people who do not like progress will try hard to scare me to do what is right but I know what is right in the eyes of God and the people. I won't be stopped by cowardice.”

She added: “If people have a problem with me, they have to deal with me. I have my house, my salary and I am happy with what I have. I have been telling these cowards [those making the libellous allegations against her anonymously] time and time again that I am not a thief. I don't come from a poor family. We have sacrificed money and items and I am satisfied. I am not corrupt.”





Etuna Nashima, a general manager at Kalahari Holdings, also denied the allegation that Shaningwa was trying to twist the company's arm to sign a debt guarantee agreement and said Kalahari Holdings was not involved in the construction of the party head office at all.

Shaningwa had said in April that the construction of the new Swapo headquarters would start at the end of June.

However, she said this week the deadline would not be met and that the ground-breaking would only commence in July.

Shaningwa also said that no company had yet been contracted to build the new head office. She would not say what the eventual cost of the building will be.

She said the idea of a new Swapo head office was first mooted by Founding President Sam Nujoma but was never implemented.

She said when she became the party's SG she “upgraded” the idea to “do what is right for the idea”.

Shaningwa said Mutua was chosen from companies that had been contracted by Kalahari Holdings in the past.

“The party head office is going to be built, not for me but for current and future generations; for the party and its future leaders,” she said.

CATHERINE SASMAN

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