Swapo Distances Itself from Bribery Case

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By Petronella Sibeene GOBABIS A Regional Executive Committee meeting scheduled towards the end of this month would determine the fate of the Swapo Omaheke regional administrator who faces charges of bribery. Israel Castro Kavari, the Swapo regional administrator in the Omaheke Region, last week appeared in court at Gobabis on charges of bribery. According to the Swapo Party regional coordinator in Omaheke, Festus Ueitele, Kavari was arrested recently on a charge of bribery. In an interview with New Era, Ueitele revealed that after an investigation was launched at farm Finale in Steinhausen constituency following the death of three San people early March 2006, Kavari somehow got hold of a report about the news story about two separate suspected cases of poisoning in which several San people died. The Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Kilus Nguvauva and a contingent of police visited farm Finale after the latest incident this year and strong appeals have been made for the police to probe the matter. The first incident was reported in 2000 where seven people died after drinking a home brew mixed with a swimming-pool cleaning agent apparently to make it more potent. A similar incident repeated itself in March this year with three lives lost after these people drunk a poison-laced brew. Early this month, Kavari then reportedly called the owner of the farm Finale, Gert Koekemoer, to organize that the two meet at the regional Swapo office. The following day, the farmer drove from his farm situated approximately 170 kilometers northeast of Gobabis and upon arrival, Kavari broke the news that he had a report compiled after an investigation was launched at farm Finale. The report which was supposed to be in the labour inspector Sam Kambazembi’s office, according to Ueitele, contained “serious” and confidential information including recommendations or rather action to be taken in light of the fatal incidences at the farm. Some of the information in the report included possible expropriation of the farm by the Government, New Era learnt. “He showed him the content of the report containing serious information on action to be taken,” the Swapo Party regional coordinator revealed. Kavari apparently told Koekemoer that if he gave him N$2 500, he would make the report disappear and Koekemoer would not lose his farm. After Koekemoer left Kavari’s office, he contacted his lawyer Bennie Venter who advised him to report the matter to the police as this was a case of bribery. The lawyer further advised his client to take the money to Kavari but with the knowledge of the police. Ueitele added the police took a specimen of the money before Koekemoer delivered the money to the regional administrator. The next day, police confronted Kavari and found him in possession of the money and he was arrested. Kavari was kept in custody for two days and was released on bail of N$1 000. He is expected to appear before the court on May 29, 2006. “The scheduled regional executive committee meeting during month end will come up with a committee that will investigate the issue and will determine Castro’s position,” Ueitele stated. Kavari has not been reporting for work for the past one week. Though he could not give details, Ueitele indicated that Kavari filled in a leave form but before the office could even approve the leave, he left. “For the past one week, he has not reported for work. All I can say is he filled in the leave form. It is too early for me to elaborate,” Ueitele said. As the regional coordinator of the ruling Swapo party in Omaheke, Ueitele condemned the incident adding that people should not doubt the credibility of the leadership in the region. “The party distances itself, he did this in his own individual capacity, the party has no share in this,” Ueitele emphasized.