Chiefs Caught in Financial Scam

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By Wezi Tjaronda

WINDHOEK

The Regional Councillor for the Otjombinde Constituency, Matti Ndjoze and chiefs Erastus Kahuure and Tumbee Tjombe from the same constituency, are caught up in a wrangle involving money belonging to the community that cannot be accounted for.

The three, under the chairmanship of Ndjoze, make up a committee that was chosen to act as caretakers of community money sourced from livestock sales during auctions in the constituency from February to August 2006.

During this time, around N$100 000 was collected and kept by the two chiefs. New Era is reliably informed that after collecting the money, half of it was spent while the remainder of about N$50 000 was supposed to be given back to the Otjombinde Farmers Association (OTJOFA) in August.

The committee will this Saturday meet to determine the whereabouts of the remaining funds.

The three were mandated to run auctions on behalf of Otjofa and the Otjombinde Farmers Co-operative, which were at loggerheads at the time over who had the jurisdiction to hold auctions.

A source close to the farmer’s association told New Era yesterday: “The three were appointed to take charge over auctions and collect commission until the dispute between the two was resolved.”

He said more than 90 percent of the money was given to Tjombe, while N$3 800 went to Kahuure to keep. What is baffling is that the money was not deposited in a bank account for safekeeping.

However, it is understood that the trio could not agree in whose bank account the money should be deposited for safekeeping and they therefore decided to split among themselves, thus denying the community the benefit of accruing interest.

Kahuure’s money, said the source that declined to be named, was returned and used during the farmers association’s show. However, why the remaining money has not been returned remains a bone of contention between the community and the caretakers.

During previous meetings, the source said, the money was supposed to be given back for the farmers association to deposit into their bank account.
To this day, no one knows what happened to the money.

The two groups had misunderstandings over which was the legal body to hold auctions considering that commission earned by the co-operative was not being used for community development.

The money earned by Otjofa is used for needs of schools in the community as well as for orphans and vulnerable children, according to the councillor.

Contacted for comment, the councillor acknowledged that the three received all the money coming from the auctions held between February and August.

“The outstanding money I have on record on the computer is N$50 000,” he said, adding that several attempts to ask the chief to hand over the money have yielded no results.

“He was supposed to give back the money in August. The reasons why he has not given back the money are only known to him,” Ndjoze added.

The meeting between the chiefs and the councillor is scheduled for Saturday at 11h00 in Tallismanus, during which four people that organised the auctions will be called in to report how many animals were sold and how much money was collected. A twenty-dollar commission per animal is charged for every animal sold.

The dispute between the two bodies has now been resolved and each body has own dates during which they will hold auctions.

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