SPYL wants Geingob to intervene in Kora saga

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-In an attempt to promote and uphold the principles of democracy, accountability and transparency, the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) has called on President Hage Geingob to intervene in the disappearance of N$21 million meant for the Kora Music awards last year.

The call is among the many resolutions on social, economic and political matters taken by the SPYL national executive committee (NEC) on Monday.

Kora music awards founder Ernst Adjovi, who is suspected of irregularly disappearing with N$21 million from under the noses of Namibian authorities last year, surfaced recently to advertise the 2017 edition of the now infamous awards online.

Adjovi was paid the money by the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) to promote the country’s image during the 2016 awards ceremony, which was slated to take place in Namibia, but never did.

Although there are talks that the process of recovering the missing millions is in motion, SPYL acting secretary Veikko Nekundi yesterday called on the president to leave no stone unturned and to ensure the culprits are decisively dealt with.

“The NEC without hesitation expresses its concern on the Kora award missing millions,” he noted.

Although it is not clear where or when the 2017 event will be held, Adjovi recently posted nomination lists of artists from across the continent in the supposed run-up to the 2017 ceremony.

The Namibian government lodged a High Court case against Adjovi late last year in an attempt to recover the missing millions. According to the initial agreement between the parties, Adjovi was supposed to have repaid the government 60 days after the March 21, 2016 awards ceremony, which never materialised.

In other matters, SPYL also expressed concern over the cost escalation of the fuel storage facility at Walvis Bay, which it says borders on “negligence by senior government officials”.

The National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) board, at the order of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, is allegedly pushing ahead with a deal to buy additional land for the national oil storage facility in Walvis Bay, despite the owners of the land offering it at a massively inflated price.

The owners of the land, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) – through a special purpose entity JTC Properties – are accused of recommending that Namcor buy an additional 5,000 square metres of land for the oil storage facility, while they are also responsible for its design and construction.

The land in question has been offered to Namcor for N$23,3 million, more than double the market value of N$9,8 million, according to an independent evaluation carried out in October last year. “SPYL calls upon our president to institute a commission of enquiry on this matter and that the culprits be dealt with swiftly,” Nekundi said.

SPYL also condemned retrenchments at Rosh Pinah and called for an end to the long-running unsanctioned strike by disgruntled fishermen at Walvis Bay.

Regarding TransNamib, SPYL said it was not advisable for government to agree with the decision by the company board to retrench a large number of people. They called upon government to intervene and save the jobs of the many breadwinners, who are at risk of losing their livelihoods.

It has been reported that in a retrenchment exercise, hundreds of employees are to be relieved of their duties through voluntary retirement, a plan initially shelved two years ago but revived only months after. “Our people are facing economic and social hardship. We, therefore, need to reverse it as a matter of priority,” Nekundi urged.

Furthermore, SPYL commended the Bank of Namibia for the decisive action to remedy anomalies in the operation of the SME Bank. The Bank of Namibia took charge of SME Bank on March 1, following the discovery of what appeared to be “unsound investments” of close to N$200 million made in South Africa.

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