Walvis municipal bigwigs suspended with pay

The CEO of the Walvis Bay municipality and three other officials have been suspended pending a corruption investigation.

17 December 2020 | Crime

LEANDREA LOUW







WALVIS BAY

Four Walvis Bay municipality staff members – three senior and one junior – were suspended on Tuesday pending an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The officials are CEO Muronga Haingura; Augustino Victor, general manager of community and economic development; Jack Manale, manager for property and housing; and Constance Summers, a property clerk.

The ACC raided the four officials’ offices and seized equipment such as laptops, desktops and cellphones on 9 December. It is investigating allegations of corruption in connection with the mass housing project.

An amount of N$24 million earmarked for the urban land servicing project is unaccounted for.

‘Missing millions’

According to former Walvis Bay Urban constituency councillor Knowledge Iipinge, who first raised the issue of the ‘missing millions’, the municipality identified land to be developed in Kuisebmond and Narraville.

He said the municipality paid N$230 million to contractors to build houses for applicants.

Plots worth N$24 million were registered in the homeowners’ names, but this money didn’t show up in audited financial statements presented to the regional council, he said.

Since September, there has been no plausible answer regarding where the money is.

Suspended

Meanwhile, the communications officer of the municipality, Anita Kaihiva, said an extraordinary council meeting was held on Tuesday morning.

At this meeting, it was resolved that the sale of erven be put on hold until further notice. Additionally, it was resolved that the council’s management committee would scrutinise earlier sales.

“As a result of the investigation by the ACC with regards to the alleged misappropriation of funds against officials of the municipality, all these officials are suspended by the municipal council of Walvis Bay with immediate effect, and with full remuneration,” she said.

This, she added, was to allow the investigation to be conducted unhindered.

“Additionally, it was also resolved that all municipal offices, premises and documents be off-limits for these suspended officials until further notice.”

The general manager for finance, Frans Gonteb, has been appointed as acting CEO for the duration of the investigation.

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