Works Official Named in House Deal

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By Mbatjiua Ngavirue Windhoek Phillip Amunyela, the Under Secretary for Administration and Support Services in the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication yesterday emerged as the generous benefactor that provided a female employee of the Ministry of Trade and Industry with a sweet deal on a government house. The recipient of Amunyela’s generosity was Deputy Director for Trade Promotion at the Ministry of Trade and Industry Annancy Mwanyangapo. Mwanyangapo is alleged to have stayed for almost four years in a government house at 55 Sean McBride Street without paying a cent for rent, electricity or water. She is a highly paid government employee, receiving around N$64 000 a year as housing allowance alone. Some lower-paid employees of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication have waited for as long as six years to be allocated government houses. These employees are now up in arms, saying they cannot understand why such a highly paid official as Mwanyangapo should be given free accommodation. Fixed assets investigators are currently carrying out an in-depth inquiry into the circumstances in which Mwanyangapo was allocated the house by Amunyela. Sources within the ministry say the case is considered so serious it may even be referred to the Anti-Corruption Commission. The house at 55 Sean McBride Street is an “assigned” house, reserved for use by overseas experts or people from the regions on assignment to the Department of Transport. Amunyela was still Director of Transport Infrastructure at the time he made the arrangements for Mwanyangapo to live in the house. Ministry sources say Amunyela even went as far as issuing signed instructions to clerks that the ministry should pay Mwanyangapo’s electricity and water bills. They also say on several occasions the Department of Transport badly needed accommodation for technical experts brought in from outside. The experts were told there was no accommodation available, while in the meantime Mwanyangapo was occupying the department’s assigned house. When approached yesterday Amunyela was not prepared to comment, saying the matter was under investigation and he did not want to jeopardise his case. He also refused to clarify what his exact relationship with Mwanyangapo is, although he did indicate they were not related. Fingers are also being pointed at Permanent Secretary for Works, Transport and Communication Shihaleni Ndjaba for acting too slowly in addressing this irregularity. Ndjaba was appointed Permanent Secretary at the ministry more than two years ago, and he is accused of having been aware of the situation for some time. They feel that as the accounting officer, he could have acted much sooner to prevent the ministry from suffering further financial losses. Reacting to these charges Ndjaba said he was the one who initiated these investigation as soon as he became aware of the problem. He pointed out that he was only appointed PS at the ministry towards the end of 2004, and was only informed of the irregularities surrounding 55 Sean McBride more than a year after his appointment. An inquiry was launched the moment he received information about the matter, and he was now only awaiting the report of the investigators before taking appropriate action. “I am not a person who will condone irregularities, and it is not correct to say I knew about it and took no action,” Ndjaba said. While living in free government accommodation Mwanyangapo allegedly used her N$64 000 housing allowance to build herself a luxury two-storey house in Gerald Evans Street, Olympia.