Lüderitz Sitting on Time-Bomb

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Despite allegations of misappropriation of public funds within the corridors of the LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz Town Council, its Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Thomas Shipepe, has said the financial situation at the council is still sound. Shipepe nevertheless told New Era that management is looking into the allegations and that only after this exercise will it know what action to take against the guilty. He confirmed that there are matters that need addressing within the town, citing issues pertaining to efficiency. “Luderitz Town Council is the fourth biggest in the country after Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. It is financially sound although there are issues to be addressed to ensure efficiency and effectiveness,” he said. Shipepe could not reveal more, saying, “These are internal matters.” Last week a source revealed there are town councillors who are aware of funds being misappropriated and yet have failed to report the matter to the office of the CEO for appropriate action. The source further disclosed that the acting CEO in his recent submission to management raised concerns on a number of issues related to operations at the town council, and the use of funds in different divisions. The report, which apparently outlines a number of matters of concern, reveals that the council has lost money in certain undertakings. The council has a serious lack of capacity in some divisions with most of its officials lacking proper training and qualifications. This has led to most divisions being in “confusion” and unless action is taken divisions will continue being run incompetently, ineffectively and inefficiently. In his submission, Shipepe, the source added, urged that the lack of performances, and incompetence and inefficiencies should be reported to his office. Even if he (Shipepe) could not give details on the matter, in his submission he warned, “The council is sitting on a time-bomb waiting to explode,” said a source. Other allegations surround the poor maintenance of LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz towns infrastructure, including pump stations. The water and sewer network is alleged to be constantly under pressure, while the water reservoir at informal settlements is reported to be overflowing on a regular basis, without any corrective measures being taken. Other allegations are those related to debt collection were some councilors are allegedly interfering with the debt collection and the paying process. This has led to the debt collection over the past few months not showing any signs of improvement despite earlier signs of commitment by the council’s customers. ” The momentum now seems to have been lost and this is one area of operations that cannot be overemphasized in terms of importance,” Shipepe’s submission reveals. Some officials at the council allegedly choose to use the influence of councilors to have their self-arranged travelling approved and financed by the council. The council will as a matter of principle re-evaluate all trips previously undertaken during the financial year 2005/6 to establish whether the stated trips were legitimate and official.