The Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (NIPAM) yesterday lifted the lid on the saga concerning the provision of housing to its executive director, Professor Joseph Diescho. It accused Diescho of refusing to pay his rent and municipal bills for his consumption of electricity and water.
The Namibian yesterday reported that Diescho faces victimisation for his perceived negative views on government, allegedly compounded by his frank weekly column in New Era.
But chairperson of the NIPAM governing council, George Simataa, yesterday dismissed assertions by The Namibian – saying there is more than meets the eye to the saga that is now threatening relations between Diescho and his employers.
Diescho was appointed as NIPAM boss on July 1, 2013 and the training institution offered to provide him with free accommodation for the first six months of his employment, Simataa, who is also secretary to Cabinet, told New Era yesterday.
“However, Professor Diescho was still responsible for payment of water, electricity, other municipal rates, taxes and charges relating to the allocated house,” Simataa said.
In the absence of an official NIPAM house, the institution accommodated Diescho at the Safari Hotel from June 30 to September 30, 2013 – for which N$140 000 was paid, Simataa further explained.
“Given the associated hotel costs, NIPAM leased a house situated in Laurie Street, Olympia, Windhoek for a monthly consideration of N$32 500. Despite paying for lease, Professor Diescho never moved into the leased house,” said Simataa.
“In furtherance of NIPAM’s obligations to accommodate Professor Diescho, the Office of the Prime Minister, to which NIPAM reports, on 31 October 2013 temporarily allocated a government-owned house situated in Saffier Street, Eros, Windhoek to Professor Diescho for a period of four months from 1 November 2013 to 29 February 2014.”
The contract for this housing arrangement stated that Diescho was personally responsible for the municipal accounts for water, electricity, sewerage and refuse, said Simataa, who also revealed that the contract obliged Diescho to pay market-related rent in respect of the allocated house from March 1, 2014.
“Despite the clear contents of the allocation letter Professor Diescho either failed and or neglected to transfer the municipal account into his name. To date, Professor Diescho owes the City of Windhoek over N$100 000,” Simataa said.
“Despite Eros being is an upmarket suburb, which would have attracted a much higher premium, NIPAM as a considerate employer, in consultation with the Office of the Prime Minister, fixed the rent at a prermium of N$4 500 per month, much lower than the market prices in that area. To date, Professor Diescho owes the Office of the Prime Minister over N$90 000 for lease,” Simataa said.
On August 19, 2014, the Office of the Prime Minister furnished notice to Diescho to vacate the government-owned house by September 30, 2014, but Diescho did not comply, New Era was further informed.
“The governing council approved the resolution of its governance and remuneration committee passed on 10 August 2015, requiring Professor Diescho to vacate the government-owned house with the understanding that NIPAM pays its employees market remuneration which includes housing allowance that is appropriately sufficient to cover accommodation,” Simataa concluded.