WINDHOEK – A public toilet and bathroom facility constructed by the Khorixas Town Council has raised eyebrows as to how such a small structure could have cost the local authority N$850 000.
The dissatisfied community of Khorixas, which suspects corruption, has referred the matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). The commission’s liaison officer, Albert Mbanga, confirmed to New Era that allegations surrounding facility’s constuction are being probed but could not divulge more information on the matter saying the investigating officer was apparently out of town.
The case, which is reminiscent of the Omusati Region saga where a single toilet was constructed for N$750 000, has angered members of the Khorixas community who charge that costs for the project were inflated while the building is substandard. The community further accuse municipal staff members of working in cahoots to allocate tenders to family members and friends. Allegations of political favouritism have also surfaced with a section of the community saying UDF party supporters are being favoured at the expense of Swapo supporters.
However Eben Xoagub, the Strategic Executive Officer of Human Resources at the Khorixas Town Council, told New Era that the cost of the public facility could be justified. He said the council challenged the ACC to visit Khorixas and assess the building in order to see if all prescribed works were done, but the corruption investigating body did not pitch up.
“It is not substandard work and it is not a regular toilet,” he maintained, saying that the building includes a kiosk and two public toilets and showers with warm water. Xoagub said that the council used a Japanese civil engineer to do quantity surveying and appointed a local contractor for the construction.
He said the work was labour-intensive and the ground had to be levelled as the location of the building was near a river. He said that building material had to be ordered from Windhoek.
It is not the first time that the Khorixas Town Council has come under fire for alleged corruption. Some councillors have reportedly been interrogated by the ACC on a number of controversial council projects, which included renovation of the municipality’s offices. Residents of the town also took to the streets last year calling for the removal of some officials who were accused of corruption.
By Magreth Nunuhe