Charlton Rodney Useb of CU Sales & Marketing cc appeared in court yesterday on a charge of fraud, alternatively theft under false pretence, involving some N$288,604, which he got from Rundu Town Council following the award a tender to his firm to source and deliver 20 skip bin containers and a trailer to the council in 2014 – which he never did.
The suspended CEO of Rundu Town Council (RTC) Romanus Haironga and several senior officials implicated in the case could also be arrested and brought before court, based on the findings of a private investigator, it emerged this week.
At his first court appearance in the Rundu Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Useb’s case was remanded to October 12 for further police investigations and to enable him to acquire the services of a private lawyer. Useb was then released on bail of N$10,000.
Emma Mayavero represented the State, while Magistrate Barry Mufana presided over the case.
On May 16, Rundu Mayor Verna Sinimbo inked an appointment letter that instructed Neumbo Private Investigators agency, along with Kadhila Amoomo Legal Practitioners, to conduct investigations into incidents of alleged corruption within the council, which are said to involve an executive and other senior council employees.
According to the private investigator, the case of Useb surfaced during their investigations, as they noticed something was fishy, given that the tender Useb got was never advertised and that his company was not registered as a supplier or service provider on Rundu Town Council’s supplier and service provider database.
The investigators subsequently opened a criminal case against Useb, after the investigator realised something was seriously amiss, given that the company clearly did not have the capacity to supply or manufacture skip containers.
CU Sales & Marketing has no infrastructure or structures with which to supply and or manufacture bins, they found. There was no letter of intent, no certificate of good standing, no evidence of financial stability, and no certificate to do business with a local government entity in their application. It also did not submit any references.
In terms of local tender board rules, any amount over N$50,000 must be put out on tender and the statutory regulations allow municipalities to exempt from tender regulations contracts of only up to N$50,000.
“Now I don’t know where they got that power and they exempted the skip bin containers, which is not an emergency and it cost the council an amont of N$288,604 which is an irregular expense,” private investigator Neumbo told New Era.
“We’re going to add the suspended RTC CEO, who is currently on suspension, the head of the public and environmental health division, and everybody on that tender board [to the list of accused persons]. We have to add them on that charge. This is one of the guys we were looking for, and we will link them now,” he added.
The skip containers were never delivered after the contract was awarded in 2014.
The investigator said as the responsible accounting officer, the now suspended CEO of RTC – Haironga – was supposed to take action at the outset, but only recently handed Useb’s case to a law firm for debt collection.