Unam staffer accused of pocketing student’s refund

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Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop – A University of Namibia (Unam) Foundation-sponsored student has allegedly been duped into depositing some of the money from his refund into a personal account of a Unam Southern Campus staff member.

The victim, third-year student Aron Tauno, narrated how apparently student support officer Dalice Shilemba, upon hearing that he had received his refund, dragged him to the town’s Bank Windhoek branch, where he was tasked to withdraw N$10,000 and then deposit the money into an account belonging to Shilemba at First National Bank.

Tauno said Shilemba had informed him it is university policy that students who receive refunds from the Unam Foundation pay back some of the money into a Unam account.

He said Shilemba had initially demanded N$18,000 but settled for N$10,000 after he told her that it was all he had left in his account.

Tauno informed New Era that he obtained financial assistance from the Unam Foundation during his first year in 2015, but payments of money to his account were only made towards the end of last year and this year he was approached by Shilemba, who was aware that students had received their refunds, to make the deposit.

“She took me from campus to my bank. I withdrew the money and when we got to FNB she filled in the deposit slip with her details and there was no Unam account,” he said.
Tauno told New Era that although he was suspicious as to why the money was deposited into a personal account and not that of Unam, he nonetheless deposited the money, as instructed, saying he only worked up the courage afterwards to approach the assistant pro-vice chancellor, Dr Erold Naomab, who promised that his case would be looked into.

Tauno indicated that he has since filed a charge with the police. New Era understands that Unam is also busy with an internal investigation into the matter.

Some university students New Era spoke to here said they are aware of the case and claimed that this was just one of many such cases, saying many students – especially first-year students – have fallen victims of Shilemba’s alleged dirty tricks.

The students claimed that Shilemba, who is said to be in charge of accommodation affairs at the campus, has also taken advantage of the lack of hostel space and has allegedly been taking bribes from students who needed hostel places.

The students expressed concern that the person hired to address their problems on campus and assist them was doing the exact opposite.

“We hear that she receives bribes to get students into the hostel. I mean, she is the student support officer, she is the one who is supposed to assist us when we have problems, but now she is stealing from us,” alleged a concerned student who asked for anonymity.

Asked if any student had brought to his attention the issue of the deposits made by students to Shilemba’s personal account, pro-vice chancellor Naomab was reluctant to provide details around the allegations, saying he could not discuss the matter at this point in time.

“I can’t discuss that. I’m not at liberty to discuss that – even if there is such a case. I can’t discuss it at the moment,” he said briefly.

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