Police probes N$200m defence transfer

The commercial crime unit of the police has hopped onto the dubious transfer of N$200 million to August 26, which defence chiefs are allegedly hiding under the blanket excuse of national security.

08 April 2021 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES







WINDHOEK

Police yesterday confirmed its Commercial Crime Investigation Division has launched a probe into August 26, against which the defence ministry has opened a case of money laundering and fraud charges to the tune of N$200 million.

This was confirmed by police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner, Kauna Shikwambi.

“Investigations will determine who the suspects are. At this point, there is no suspect,” she said.

The investigation follows Windhoek mayor Job Amupanda's claims that former defence minister Peter Vilho sanctioned a N$200 million transfer from the ministry to August 26 in 2017 without Treasury's approval. Vilho, who was relieved of his ministerial position this week following a meeting with President Hage Geingob, was executive director in the defence ministry at the time of the alleged transfer.

Vilho has consistently denied the claim, and in his ‘resignation’ letter to Geingob on Tuesday, he called for a forensic audit to be conducted into the matter to clear his name.

While serving as defence minister, Vilho refused to answer detailed questions about this transfer, saying he has always acted in his official capacity and that his predecessor in the executive director’s position must answer such questions.

Former finance minister Calle Schlettwein previously said he did not approve any such transfer.

Jumping ship

In January, Amupanda requested the Public Accountants' and Auditors' Board (PAAB) to investigate transactions purported to show the said transactions as well as PwC Namibia’s conduct in its audit of August 26.

The Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Act No. 51 of 1951 requires an auditor to immediately inform the head of an audited institution once any irregularities are detected.

PwC has resigned as August 26 auditors but has maintained a tight grip on its findings about the company.

Head of PAAB, Zaa Nashandi, yesterday said they are still investigating the matter, particularly the alleged payment.

“Our investigators are correlating information received from the mayor [as complainant] and PWC. The purpose of these investigations is to ascertain if there is a prima facie case against PwC in terms of available evidence,” he told Namibian Sun.

Noa’s ark at a standstill

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) chief public relations officer Josephina Nghituwamata yesterday said the commission is not investing August 26.

She said they have not received any information regarding alleged corruption at the defence ministry or any of its subsidiaries, despite widespread speculation on social media.

“As much as ACC has the mandate to initiate investigations, we still need people who speculated about corruption to give a statement so that we use that as a basis of our investigation,” she said.

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