Veterans Affairs responds to ‘delays’ accusation

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Veterans Affairs totally refutes the allegations contained in a news article that appeared in The Namibian newspaper on 15 January 2016 titled ‘Veterans Affairs accused of delaying projects’, in which it was reported that Veterans Affairs is deliberately delaying the approval and funding of Individual Veterans Projects (IVPs) and thus further frustrating the veterans of the national liberation struggle, some of whom it was reported are awaiting their project funding for the last five years.

The article further implied that Veterans Affairs employees are demanding bribes from veterans in order to facilitate their project funding, thus painting a picture of mass corruption going on unhindered within Veterans Affairs.

Our response is that Veterans Affairs conducts its business in a fair and transparent manner. It is therefore incorrect to imply that Veterans Affairs is intentionally delaying the approval and funding of IVPs and that bribery is the order of the day on the part of Veterans Affairs in carrying out its mandate. All evidence of bribery by Veterans Affairs employees should be reported to the Office of the Permanent Secretary (061) 296 3003, the Namibian Police and the Anti-Corruption Commission. The soliciting of bribes by public servants is unlawful and against the code of conduct of the Public Service Commission and should not be tolerated at all.

To some extent, it is true that some IVPs are pending since 2011. This shortcoming, however, can solely be attributed to budget constraints as opposed to delaying tactics on the part of Veterans Affairs. Since the process of IVPs began in 2010 to date, Veterans Affairs has spent well over N$1.9 billion on the funding of 9 922 IVPs.

The changing of IVP business plans by some veterans is another contributing factor that might delay the approval and funding of IVPs. In the case where a veteran changes his/her approved project, this means that the project will take longer to be finalized because of the formulation of a new business plan and the furnishing of new invoices for payment.

Another delaying measure is when suppliers supply substandard goods to veterans, which in turn the veteran refuses to accept. These will require that the supplier first refunds Veterans Affairs after which the veteran is compelled to source new quotations from suppliers with good standing.

In addition, Veterans Affairs takes cognizance of our ageing and sickly veterans, hence a decision was taken to prioritize the approval and funding of their IVPs before those of the able bodied veterans.

Edson Haufiku
Senior PRO: Veterans Affairs

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