Councillor’s corruption case postponed to next year

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Keetmanshoop

The corruption case of //Kharas Regional Council chairperson Jan Scholtz and co-accused Barnatus Waterboer has been postponed to March 2016.

Regional magistrate Sunsley Zisengwe last Friday postponed the case to March 16-18 as requested by the lawyers of the accused Garth Joseph and Tommy Andimba, to which the state prosecutor Basson Lilungwe had no objection.

Scholtz, who is also the councillor for !Nami#nüs Constituency and Waterboer, a control officer at the Karas Regional Council, are facing charges of corruption. They in 2011 allegedly awarded tenders of over half a million dollars for paving the governor’s and the !Nami#nüs Constituency offices to a company by the name of Gerose Construction cc, which is allegedly owned by a close friend.

Scholtz also faces corruption charges for allegedly tabling to the council and motivating financial assistance for a company known as Tommy’s Meat Products, without revealing that his stepson was the owner of the company.

Testifying in the case last Friday, Saul Kahuika the current chief regional officer of the //Kharas Regional Council testified that he was unaware of the jobs being carried out at the governor’s office and the constituency offices until he was given the invoices to authorise payments. He explained that the process of awarding tenders usually goes through the tender board for approval if the amount is above N$10 000 but in this case the tenders awarded for the work never went through the tender board.

An intimidating Andimba representing accused 2 asked the witness if there were cases when the normal tender process was not followed when the amount was more than N$10 000.

Andimba then showed witness 2 documents on which his signature appeared approving payments above N$10 000, but which didn’t go through the tender board. One of the approvals was allegedly to renovate the house of the Bondelswarts queen costing N$94 000 by instruction of the witness.

The witness acknowledged his signature on both documents but said he could not remember how he had signed it if it didn’t go through the tender board.

As for Scholtz’s alleged motivation so that his stepson could get financial assistance, Kahuika testified that in normal circumstances a panel member would recuse him/herself from the proceedings if there was any conflict of interest, which the chairperson did not do as he sat through the deliberations.

Scholtz and Waterboer were arrested in December 2013 following Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa’s decision to charge them for allegedly contravening the Anti-Corruption Act.

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