Official Probed for Living in Govt House

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By Mbatjiua Ngavirue Windhoek Government asset investigators are carrying out an inquiry into why a senior official was allowed to occupy a government house for almost four years in contravention of the rules. Deputy Director in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Annancy Mwanyangapo has allegedly lived free of rent, electricity and water bills in a government house in an up-market Windhoek suburb since 2002. Mystery surrounds the circumstances under which the house was allocated to Mwanyangapo. The house at 55 Sean McBride Street, Olympia, is assigned to the Department of Transport and not the Ministry of Trade and Industry where Mwanyangapo is employed. Spokesperson at the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, Julius Ngweda recently confirmed the case is under investigation, though he could not elaborate on details. Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Joel Kaapanda and Permanent Secretary Shihaleni Ndjaba are said to be aware of the case. Works apparently regards the case in such serious light that it may refer it to the Anti-Corruption Commission. Some employees of the Works and Transport Ministry, who have desperately waited to be accommodated in government housing for the past six years, raised the alarm bells over the house occupied by Mwanyangapo. They are especially bitter that someone at deputy director level with a housing allowance estimated at N$64 000 a year could be accommodated by the government free of charge. Mwanyangapo, instead of paying for her own accommodation has apparently used the N$64 000 annual housing allowance to build herself a two-storey house in Gerald Evans Street, Olympia, which is now almost complete. The implication is, of course, that she will soon be moving into a house partially built for her by the Namibian government. Some employees pointed a finger at Acting Director for Fixed Assets at the Ministry of Works, Hangapo Veico, because Annancy Mwanyangapo is apparently a relative of hers. Ngweda however dismissed charges of wrongdoing against Veico, saying she became acting director long after the house was allocated to Mwanyangapo. “They are related, but she is not the one who gave that house. Mwanyangapo was given the house in 2002, but Veico was only appointed to act in the position in August last year.” Sources within the ministry now suggest the real culprit is a senior male management cadre at the ministry. What makes the case even more intriguing is that while Mwanyangapo occupies the house, the name of the male management cadre is given as the occupant on the books of the ministry. The question on everyone’s lips now is what favours, if any, may have been exchanged between Mwanyangapo and the male management cadre for her to be given the house. Mwanyangapo, when approached for comment last week, said she was unaware of any investigation against her. She declined to comment on the matter, saying she would rather wait until she was informed officially before making any comment. “If they are investigating, I would have expected that they would have brought it to my attention,” she said. The house occupied by Mwanyangapo is what the government terms an “assigned house”, normally reserved for use by overseas experts or people coming from the regions who would be working for the assigned ministries or departments. The house in Sean McBride Street was specifically allocated to the Department of Transport for experts on temporary assignment. Occupants of assigned houses are normally only required to pay for water and electricity but not rent.