… As National Council beats National Assembly to asset declaration
Many members of the National Council are active businesspeople, with thriving ventures in fishing, farming and alcohol retail, amongst others.
MPs in the National Council have met the August 31 deadline to declare their assets, but the content of their submissions has not yet been made public. However, a peep into assets declared last year in the house of review reveals that the MPs, with few exceptions, own a range of business ventures that rake in extra income.
The types of businesses they own range from shops, farms and fishing firms to construction companies. There were, however, a few MPs who had nothing to declare.
National Council chairperson Asser Kapere, for example, owns Farm Ombombo and has shares in Sword Fishing Namibia. Kapere also chairs the Sword Fishing Association and Erongo Development Foundation, a micro-finance credit scheme that provides financial assistance to small businesses in the Erongo Region.
The register also shows that Kapere co-owns Erf 528 in Hochland Park, Erf 963 in Pioneerspark in Windhoek and Erf 00528 at Arandis with his wife, Reverend Maria Kapere.
Kapere’s deputy, Margaret Mensah-Williams, who is also councillor for Khomasdal North Constituency, declared that she owns 15 percent shares in Hatako Fishing, has two bank accounts and a house in the leafy suburb of Academia.
Former Karas governor and current Berseba Constituency Councillor David Boois owns Farm Seehem West Nr. 84, and has 11 929 shares in Southern Hake. He also owns 8 percent shares in Keiseb Fishing.
Deputy Minister of Veteran Affairs and Keetmanshoop Urban Constituency Councillor Hilma Nikanor also has eight percent shares in Keiseb Fishing company.
DTA vice-president Kazeongere Tjeundo, who infamously advocated wife-swapping last year, has 300 shares in Trustco. Tjeundo is the current councillor for Opuwo Constituency.
Gobabis Constituency Councillor Phillipus Wido Katamelo, one of the youngest faces in the house, declared 200 shares in Old Mutual and 15 percent shares in Tsogang Investment.
Rehoboth West Urban Constituency Councillor and Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Theo Diergaardt has business interests in Bank Windhoek and owns Erf 43, Erf 767 and Erf 641 in Rehoboth.
Councillor of Okatana Constituency Rosalia Shilenga declared a Standard Bank cheque account, while Etayi Constituency Councillor Bernadius Shikutamba listed a shebeen and a village field that he owned since 1972.
Barakias Namwandi owns an erf in Mariental.
Former Zambezi regional governor and Katima Mulilo Urban Constituency Councillor Bernard Sibalatani owns a security and construction company, 50 shares in Trustco and has interests in Bank Windhoek.
Linyanti Constituency Councillor Cletius Shipapela is a director of Atlantic Food Services and owns 20 percent shares in the company. Atlantic Food’s core services include catering, construction, housework and laundry.
The records show that Okahao Constituency Councillor Isai Kapenambili owns only Strategy Bar. Similarly, Rundu East Constituency Councillor Nimrod Muremi owns only a shebeen.
Tobias Tangeni of Tsumeb and Katutura Central Councillor Ambrosius Kandjii had nothing to declare.
In 2006 three NC MPs were censured for not submitting their declarations and, unlike the more secretive National Assembly, their names were recorded in the Hansard.
Kapere expressed delight at how MPs in the National Council complied with the requirement of declaring assets. “It is important that, as decision-makers taking decisions on behalf of citizens, that people know your business interests, so that when you take decisions, they will be able to link you to one or another source,” he said.
Meanwhile, just next door, MPs in the National Assembly have not declared their assets and interests since 2009. National Assembly Speaker Professor Peter Katjavivi gave notice in parliament last week that the Code of Conduct and Declaration of Members’ Interest form would be discussed and adopted tomorrow (Wednesday).
Even President Hage Geingob and his wife, Monica, declared their personal assets and wealth earlier this year, saying their combined estimated net worth is between N$95 million and N$111 million, although there is no legal obligation for them to do so.
It took the president just two months to declare his assets after assuming office, but more than six months later lawmakers in the National Assembly are still dilly-dallying over the content of the declaration forms, which will guide the process.
Some MPs have maintained that they are ready to declare their interests and pinned the blame on administrators for failing to provide the necessary forms.