ACC still investigating reinstated Mwoombola

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WINDHOEK, 01 February 2017 - Ministry of Health and Social Services Permanent Secretary Andreas Mwoombola delivers the welcoming remarks at the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Consultation on HIV Prevention and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for Adolescent Girls and Young Women. (Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPA

Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) director general Paulus Noa yesterday confirmed that the agency is still busy investigating permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health Dr Andreas Mwoombola, who was reinstated in his position after a three-week suspension.

In a brief statement issued yesterday, Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa said the investigation into the allegations – the details of which are as yet undisclosed – has been completed and that Mwoombola resumed work yesterday.

Confidénte reported recently that the ACC had launched an investigation into the matter, wherein it is alleged that Mwoombola awarded N$250 million worth of tenders to companies allegedly linked to him and other officials in the ministry.

It was reported that the ACC subsequently confiscated work computers and piles of records that will be used in the investigation. In this regard, Noa told New Era yesterday that the ACC is investigating allegations of criminality, such as irregularities in the awarding of tenders.

Noa said although Mwoombola has been reinstated, their investigations continue. He explained that they are busy with criminal investigations implicating a number of Ministry of Health officials, including Mwoombola and these investigation have not yet been completed.

“Remember, the suspension did not have anything to do with the ACC. It was their own suspension, we don’t suspend people. So, if they suspended him and are busy doing internal investigations that’s fine,” Noa said.

“So, it’s for them to give an explanation… ACC is not necessarily [focused] on administrative issues. If they are talking about the investigations [being] completed, maybe they were busy with their internal investigation and they might have completed them. So, it has got nothing to do with us. Our investigation continues as I am speaking to you.”

The implicated officials are alleged to have created a series of crises around projects and programmes in the ministry, which they then used to acquire medical equipment without these acquisitions being put out to tender.
It was also reported that this practice resulted in the ministry paying inflated prices for items than would have been the case if they had put the items out on tender. Unverified reports suggest that in other instances, medicine and equipment were purchased at inflated prices, although they were not needed.

It was alleged that Mwoombola was suspended in connection with the awarding of a linen-supply tender to an associate. Both Simataa and Health Minister Bernard Haufiku did not take calls from New Era yesterday, as the newspaper sought to confirm why Mwoombola was suspended in the first place.

“The public is hereby informed that Dr Mwoombola has resumed duties today, 1 August 2017,” the statement signed by Simataa reads.

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