Ongwediva-The Oshakati Town Council has dismissed one of its drivers for allegedly defrauding the council of N$22,529 worth of fuel.
Natanael Tomas, who was asked to pay back the losses incurred, was found guilty on charges of fraud and gross negligence at a council disciplinary hearing.
Council CEO Werner Iita confirmed the dismissal but refused to shed more light on the matter.
But Tomas said he was dismissed unfairly without being given a chance to appeal his verdict whilst in office, and without calling any vital witnesses to validate the charges against him.
He argues that the charges were filed against him when he, on August 1 last year, signed out a fuel card to fill one of the council’s trucks, but when he returned the transport officer was not available and he left the fuel card in the next office as was the norm.
He said he never went to enquire whether the transport officer had received the card or not because that was the usual practice and at no point did the traffic officer interrogate him about the card.
“Now I am being challenged on why I did not ask whether the card was received. Why should I ask if that is what we have been doing? Now I also stand to ask why no one questioned me why I did not bring back the card, if that is the case,” said Tomas.
Yet it has emerged that since he returned the card on that same date it was used consecutively from August 2 –30 but ironically the same truck never left the council premises since August 1.
He said the signature on the receipts were forged to fit his.
He added that the council refused to give him the receipt of August 1 on request, claiming they do not have it but are in possession of all the other receipts that followed thereafter.
According to Tomas the council further failed to explain how he defrauded the council because it was never put to him how the card was used.
“If this was a fair disciplinary hearing, then the service station where the card was used should also have been brought in to give their side of story and to confirm that it was indeed me they saw,” said Tomas.
The council is holding him liable for failing to safeguard the fuel card and eventually causing huge financial costs to the council, as well as for acting irresponsibly by not complying with procedures of completing and signing the various registers and documents.
Tomas said he is waiting to appeal his dismissal before taking up the matter with the labour commission.