Cabinet authorises audit of Zambezi Waterfront

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Windhoek

Cabinet has approved the launch of a forensic audit into alleged maladministration and wastage of government resources at the Zambezi Waterfront Tourism Park (ZWTP).

ZWTP was temporarily closed last month, leaving close to 60 jobs hanging in the balance. The waterfront was commissioned to boost tourism in the Zambezi Region.

But now the task to identify a forensic firm to investigate the ZWTP and provide government with feedback very soon has been placed on the desk of the parastatal’s board of directors, Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta told New Era.

The latest cabinet session took note of the closure  of the ZWTP due to all phases not being completed as planned and the facility not meeting industry standards.

With the forensic audit, government plans to bring to book those responsible for the wastage while Shifeta’s ministry has been requested to submit a new business model and roadmap for the parastatal.

“The investigation will generally be about how money was spent and why things were not done properly,” Shifeta said.

“Government has invested close to N$420 million for infrastructure but when you visit the place you only see infrastructure worth maybe N$57 million and not of the same value as the investment,” says Shifeta

Furthermore, unofficial reports circulating allege that irregular fees were paid to some people while one board member is accused of a conflict of interest on the basis that he owns a lodge in Zambezi.

The lodge owned by one board member is seen as a direct conflict of interest because it is in direct competition with the waterfront.

New Era tried to get comment from ZWTP board chairperson Frans Kwala but he could not be reached on his mobile number, while the phone at his law firm rang off the hook yesterday and the person who answered another mobile number linked to the phone said, “He just left a few minutes ago.”

It is believed that apart from the close to 60 employees, only a few people will be affected by the closure of the ZWTP as most residents in the vicinity are too poor to afford to patronise the somewhat posh and expensive accommodation and recreational facility.

Earlier this year, Shifeta stressed that companies such as the ZWTP are supposed to make money and not become a liability to the shareholder.

He warned that institutions that do not make money or do not break even would be referred to as the Red Cross and not companies.

At the time he described the ZWTP as still a “baby” and exonerated it from much of the tounge-lashing.

The project that started in 2005 initially resorted under the Ministry of Finance but was reassigned in 2014 to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to be run by Namibia Wildlife Resorts.
 

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