By Petronella Sibeene
After months of investigations into alleged irregular travel and subsistence claims running into tens of thousands, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday arrested the Karas Chief Regional Officer Salmaan Jacobs.
He is accused of having contravened Section 43 of the Anti-Corruption Act after he allegedly submitted a travel and subsistence claim of more than
Last September Jacobs undertook a month-long trip to Bonn and Berlin, Germany where he attended an International and Regional Conflict Management Workshop.
While the entire costs of the workshop were covered by the organizers, it is reported he pocketed N$18 228 before his departure and he then submitted a second claim for N$25 592, 38 upon his return from Germany.
The organisers InwEnt further gave participants 354 Euros (N$3 373) each as pocket money.
Paulus Noa, the Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) confirmed the Karas chief regional officer was arrested yesterday morning under the Anti-Corruption Act for misuse of public funds.
Since the ACC received a report last year, the institution has been busy with its investigation until yesterday when it finally arrested Jacobs.
“So far we have found that he contravened the Anti-Corruption Act,” said Noa.
Apart from the ACC investigation into the alleged misappropriation or misuse of funds, Noa said, the two investigators in that region are also looking into other issues with possible corrupt attachments.
Jacobs appeared in the Keetmanshoop magistrate’s court yesterday morning and he was granted bail of N$7 000. He was represented by Gerhardt van der Heever.
His case was postponed to September 07, 2007 for further police investigations.
The State also requested that the CRO should not enter his office without the permission of the regional crime coordinator of the Namibian Police (Nampol) in the Karas Region.
Chief Divisional Magistrate Alfred Siboleka presided over the case, with Belly Lutaka prosecuting.
While Noa said that investigations into Jacob’s case continue, more arrests at the regional council are likely soon. The cases will mainly be related to housing subsidies.
Jacobs two weeks ago was quoted in one local daily as saying he was not afraid of the commission probing into alleged criminal charges.
He explained that as per procedure in any government setting when an employee is going on a trip, an advance payment is made and a claim is submitted upon return.
The second claim includes hours and incidentals that may have occurred during the trip.
He added that rates are paid in three categories. The first one involves accommodation, meals and incidentals. The second rate includes meals and incidentals and the final rate is strictly for incidentals such as for laundry and phone calls.
“When I was accepted and received the programme, it was clear that the trip was not all-expenses paid and I immediately wrote a memo in which I mentioned that meals were not fully covered, and that most evenings and weekend lunch and dinners were excluded,” Jacobs was quoted as saying.
He further argued that he needed appropriate clothing for winter in addition to incidentals such as transport and thus claimed for the second rate that covers meals and incidentals.
That memo made provision for the governor to approve, and the claim was processed with the recommendation of the governor. The council’s finance and administration officials are capable people, and acted when they received the signature of the governor, he said recently.
He added he provided the council with documentary evidence of the claims and neither the council nor the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development acknowledged or pronounced themselves on whether or not they accepted these documents.