The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has reportedly asked Oshakati Mayor Katrina Shimbulu to answer allegations of mismanagement of council funds.
She is suspected of using her position as mayor to claim suspect travel and subsistence (S&T) and daily allowances, amounting to N$36 000, that she claimed from the council on various occasions.
Asked for comment, Shimbulu said she was in Walvis Bay on an official trip and is yet to see the letter from the ACC.
“I just learned about that letter when another journalist called me a while ago asking me about it. Therefore, I’ll only answer your questions once I get back to my office,” Shimbulu said briefly.
She added that she is aware of certain people that tend make up unfounded allegations against her, whenever she is in a leadership
position. “If they were not accusing me of being a member of DTA, they are claiming that I’m in RDP, and now that [allegation],” Shimbulu remarked.
Among others, Shimbulu stands accused of not refunding N$20 000 in S&T funds paid to her by the council for a trip, which she had cancelled. She is suspected of pocketed the money.
It is alleged Shimbulu was recently scheduled to travel to Botswana but later cancelled the trip. By then the money had already been paid to her. It is now alleged that she never bothered to repay the money. Shimbulu also claimed N$4 000 for a private trip to Walvis Bay, for which purpose she was also provide a council vehicle and driver.
The ACC’s letter further asked Shimbulu to explain N$15 000 used by the council to buy a mobile phone for her. It is understood that the mayor already gets a mobile telephone allowance. She was expected to pay back the difference of N$12 000 to the council, after it had settled the full amount for her phone of choice.
ACC director Paulus Noa could not confirm or deny that any such letter was indeed sent to Shimbulu by his office. “I’m not at our case
management system to see if that letter was written to that particular office and if it was written, whether it has reached the intended person. All I can say is that it is normal for ACC to write letters to certain offices if we receive information that someone owes a certain amount of money that needs to be paid back,” he said. He explained that owing an amount to a public institution does not necessarily
mean the person committed a crime.
At times an implicated person may simply be delayed in paying back – for one reason or another, he said. It is also one of the ACC’s functions to inform people in such a situation that not paying back the money immediately is wrong, Noa pointed out.