A damning forensic investigation carried out at the Omaruru Municipality could cost several officials their jobs, with government now hot on the heels of the culprits in order to recover the embezzled funds.
Cabinet on Tuesday authorized the Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa, with the help of the attorney general, to pursue action to bring the culprits to book and ensure that the embezzled state funds are recovered.
The Minister of Information and Communication Technology Tjekero Tweya made the announcement yesterday at a media briefing on resolutions taken by Cabinet on Tuesday, but he could not state the amount of funds involved.
He said it was difficult to determine the exact amount because the embezzlement took place over a period of time and it involved more than one official.
“Although there is a forensic report, we must be fair to those involved so that they can give their side of the story. Hence, the ministry must formulate the appropriate charges,” he said.
Tweya said any official who exceeded his/her authority would be subject to disciplinary procedures.
“The culprits must pay back the money because the findings are clear. Money was embezzled and those that are found to have done that must face the music,” he said.
Former Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Minister Major General (Rtd) Charles Namoloh on December 17 2013 suspended Omaruru councillors without pay for failing to implement his recommendations.
The suspended councillors are Phillip Nghipandulwa, Tuli Gebhardt and Johannes Hamutenya from Swapo, deputy mayor Albertus Naruseb of RDP, UDF’s Christiaan Nanuseb who also served as the chairman of the management committee and the mayor Vincent Kahua, who served on a Nudo ticket.
The recommendations were made after irregularities were unearthed by a ministerial investigation into the activities of the council. The investigation unearthed shocking malpractices involving some councillors allegedly acquiring municipal campsites for themselves as well as tailor-made houses through the Build Together housing scheme.
Others include tender irregularities, illegal land sales and nepotism. The councilors also defied a ministerial order not to undertake overseas trips.
Other resolutions taken at Tuesday’s meeting include the reappointment of board members of AgriBank, the National Broadcasting Corporation and the Game Products Trust Fund.
Cabinet also approved the Micro-lending Bill for submission to the Cabinet Committee on Legislation.