Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President Samuel /Goagoseb has dismissed as untrue a newspaper report that said building contractors have abandoned the construction site of the house of the founding president Sam Nujoma.
The allegations were contained in The Namibian newspaper article titled ‘Builders abandoned Nujoma’s house’, that appeared on Friday.
In a statement issued on Friday, /Goagoseb said the newspaper insinuation that money meant for the project was diverted by the presidency to another renovation that is ongoing at State House is a malicious lie because the presidency has budgeted for both the residence of Nujoma and the renovation of State House.
“We have money for both projects. There is no need to take money from one project to the other,” said /Goagoseb.
He further said the newspaper also lied when it wrote the stoppage has forced the former president to stay at his farm situated around 30km south of Otavi.
“The start of demolition and start of construction in any project means occupants need to relocate somewhere else. There is state accommodation in Windhoek where the (former) president may stay,” he said. However, he said, Nujoma also visits and stays at Etunda farm from time to time, which is property he owns.
“It is false to allege he relocated to Etunda farm because of the alleged stoppage,” he said.
He said the demolition of Nujoma’s old residence was done on the recommendation of quantity surveyors in their capacity as experts who advised that it would not be feasible to renovate the old building. “It is thus disingenuous to insinuate that the construction of the new residence was not warranted and imposed by the government,” he said.
He said it is a well-known fact that delays in construction projects can be caused by many factors, adding that it is also public knowledge that due to fiscal constraints, expenditure on several capital projects has been scaled down.
He said in the case of this project any delay was not because of non-payment.
“The contractor is on site, working,” he added.
He further assured the public that the presidency has honoured and met its financial obligations to the main contractors.
“Payment certificates and invoices submitted for payment have been settled within 30 days, as it is the practice,” he said, adding that the latest payments to the main contractors were cleared and made last week.
“This happened before the disparaging news article was published,” he said.