Ousted Politician’s Woes Worsen

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By Chrispin Inambao WINDHOEK The year 2006 could without doubt be listed as the “annus horribilis” in the published or unpublished memoirs of Michael Mudabeti, who last year was unceremoniously ousted as town mayor of Katima Mulilo for bringing the ruling Swapo Party into disrepute. Sadly, the offences committed by Mudabeti a few years ago are now coming back to haunt him at a time when his health is said to be declining – because of a debilitating stroke. Though his political career appears in flames – beyond salvation – his long spell of ill-fortune is far from over as the Ministry of Education is in the process of charging him for suspected fraud involving over N$72 000 and for assaulting senior municipal officials. Mudabeti was on the verge of being charged departmentally for suspected fraud, assault and other offences had it not been for his declining health and subsequent hospitalisation for several days at the town. The acting Regional Director of Education, Lovemore Lupalezwi , got cold feet and refused to be drawn into the controversy when he was asked about the case, though New Era was reliably informed by sources at the town that the ministry is just biding its time. The former town mayor will have his day at the disciplinary hearing that was also delayed by the death of a senior official tasked to get to the bottom of this protracted matter. One of the charges pending against the crestfallen official – the one of assault – has its origins in one ugly incident on September 01 2003 when Mudabeti jabbed his finger into the face of Edwin Liswani Kambinda who at the time was the town treasurer at Katima. During the same tempestuous management meeting, an irate Mudabeti allegedly threatened to rough up and to beat up Agnes Limbo who at the time (and still is) the chief executive officer. At the time the duo incurred Mudabeti’s wrath, they were freshly reinstated following a month-long suspension. The alleged assault for which he was cautioned in August 2004 after being found guilty by a competent court of law came about after the complainants had dared to take him to task on suspicion that he wrongfully took a vehicle belonging to the town council on private errands over one weekend at Katima Mulilo. Sources also indicated that on top of the assault charge, the head teacher of Caprivi Senior Secondary School would also be charged with “misconduct” on grounds that he failed to submit documentary proof such as invoices, receipts and delivery notices of purchases he insists he made using school funds paid by hundreds of students at CSS. New Era was informed the ministry would initially handle the misconduct charge stemming from the assault of the two officials before sorting out the misappropriation case. At the time of the initial internal audit commissioned by the ministry last year in September, he barred two auditors Sebastian Kamwi Munyaza (Accountant Internal Auditing), Boniface Lukopani Maemeko (Assistant Accountant: Internal Auditing) saying he needed to consult his lawyer. He reluctantly allowed the two to carry out their work after being reminded the audit was routine and procedural. Though Mudabeti was unavailable for comment as he is still recuperating from the stroke, his supporters are saying he is a victim of a well-orchestrated witch-hunt and he has also given that version.

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