‘Missing funds’ used as a de-campaigning tool

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Obrein Simasiku

Omuthiya-Finger-pointing was the order of the day at Omuthiya district’s Swapo Party conference on Monday with the majority threatening to boycott as they demanded answers regarding unaccounted funds meant for a district office at Omutwegwonime.

It is alleged that approximately N$370,000 in cash and donations in kind that included goats, cattle, chickens and mahangu collected at a fundraising event near Omuthiya in 2013, vanished and remains unaccounted for.

In addition, some Swapo members wanted to know how over N$100,000 pledged during an end-of-year function at Omuthiya was used, but they could not get answers.

The meeting almost came to a standstill when Swapo’s regional coordinator, Armas Amukwiyu, tried to dismiss such a discussion, as it was not part of the agenda, but under pressure he capitulated and allowed the complainants to be heard.

The conference aimed at nominating candidates to contend for the positions of regional coordinator, treasurer, mobiliser and information officer revealed the ugly side of Swapo’s internal politics.

The nominees will contest for the said positions at the upcoming regional conference scheduled for June 24, where four members will be elected to represent the region at the Swapo Congress later this year.

It only came to light at the meeting on Monday that the funds were spent on fuel for the party members’ trips to Nehale Lya Mpingana Constituency.

Former councillor of Omuthiya and former district treasurer Armas Amukoto maintained that the funds collected amounted to only N$60,000 and not N$370,000. However, he could not detail how much remained in the kitty, apart from saying the funds were used for fuel.

In response the members asked who had authorised Amukoto and Shiningombwa to divert funds without the knowledge and authorisation of the district executive committee. However, was a source, who preferred anonymity, claimed that the issue of the funds was a mere smokescreen to de-campaign other candidates and to diminish their chances of election.
The situation only calmed down when Amukoto explained he was innocent in the matter as there were three signatories, hence he could not have squandered the funds of his own volition.

One of the signatories, Beata Nashongo, then distanced herself from the matter, saying she was not always present during all withdrawals, as sometimes Amukoto was accompanied by Leevi Shiningombwa, who was one of the signatories by virtue of her role as district coordinator.

“The funds we used were for the purpose of putting in fuel… I did not use any of that money for my own things, and in fact I am a businessman even before I took up that position. So, I couldn’t live on that money” Amukoto said.

Amukoto further indicated that he still has records for transactions and can make them available to clear his name. In response, Amukwiyu requested that all the bank books be brought forward before they are handed over to the new treasurer in a transparent manner.

The meeting, which convened at midday and dragged on until 20h00 due to the disagreements and arguments swirling about, also saw some party members storm out of the venue.

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