ISAP hits back at corruption allegations

16 April 2021 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The non-profit organisation Intelligence Support Against Poaching (ISAP) has been accused of an array of corrupt practices, including misappropriation of donor funding in 2019.

The organisation has been accused of spending only 4.3%, less than N$90 000, of the N$2.06 million donor funding on anti-poaching operations. Allegedly, the bulk of the funding was spent on salaries totalling N$1.4 million in 2019, of which two staff members received N$500 000 each. ISAP CEO Fritz Kaufmann has denied the accusations made by a group calling itself Project Whistleblower Namibia.

The group claimed on its Facebook page that the rest of the donor money went to the maintenance of an airplane “that has been more of a liability than asset.”

The group further claimed that ISAP had not been audited since 2017. Kaufmann said the donations received were for the construction of the ISAP facility in the Otjozondjupa Region.

“Donors who funded the construction endorsed the objective to have a facility for educational, training and environmental awareness purposes.

“The facility is being constructed in stages and the first two have been completed as per the donors' requests. The facility is operating and is open to be visited at any time,” he said.



Expenses

With regard to salaries, Kauffman said the payroll included the construction project manager and the ISAP head of operations, who was responsible for all projects, fundraising, coordination and planning of anti-poaching activities, including liaison with the authorities and reporting to donors.

He said the allegation that less than N$90 000 was spent on anti-poaching activities failed to recognise that ISAP's activities go beyond wildlife surveillance.

“An organisation such as ISAP requires physical, organisational and management infrastructure in order to drive the activities that it participates in.”

Kauffmann said some of these costs, such as rent, telephones, printing, insurance, courier and postage, internet and accounting fees, cannot be directly linked to a specific anti-poaching activity but must be incurred for the organisation to function.

According to him the airplane is maintained at an average annual cost of N$150 000 and it has been instrumental in various wildlife searches since it was donated to ISAP.

The plane has also been used in anti-poaching activities done jointly with the police.

“The plane is an asset that has already proven its worth and will continue to do so. Without the plane, no long-distance aerial surveillance activities would be possible which would severely hamper anti-poaching activities in the vast Namibian veld.”



Financial reporting

Kauffmann said financial reporting for the past three years has been concluded and the external audit arrangements are in progress.

“Audited financial results will be made available once the audit assignments are completed.”

Project Whistleblower further claimed that ISAP had received a N$350 000 donation from a private donor in Switzerland to help the organisation start a drone project. According to them, ISAP bought 2 DJI drones and used the rest of the money for other expenses.

Kauffmann said drones have been used in close-range wildlife searches and short-distance aerial surveillance. They are also at the disposal of the authorities for their surveillance purposes and have been used in wildlife crime seminars.

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