Exonerated Hungamo resigns as PS

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-The National Planning Commission (NPC) Permanent Secretary Leevi Hungamo has resigned from government, amidst recent reports that he was exonerated in the multi-billion coastal fuel storage facility case.

Just over a week ago, Hungamo was found not guilty for charges against him over the cost of the proposed fuel storage facility at Walvis Bay that rose from N$3,7 billion in 2014 to N$5,5 billion last year.
Although it remains unclear on the content of his resignation, Hungamo yesterday declined to discuss his exit from NPC, saying, “no comment.”

Nonetheless, Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa confirmed Hungamo’s resignation after New Era’s enquiry, but he too could not confirm the reason for the youthful PS’s exit.

“Yes, I can confirm that he had indeed resigned and no reason was given,” Simataa said.
Simataa could not say when Hungamo’s last working day was, but New Era understands this was his last week in office.

The Namibian recently reported Hungamo’s lawyer Stephen Vlieghe confirmed that Hungamo had been found not guilty on all charges relating to the storage facility planned for Walvis Bay.

“Government could not put up enough evidence to support the charges against him. Most of the evidence by the government was in support of my client,” Vlieghe was quoted as saying.

Hungamo, the Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary Ericah Shafudah as well as the chief legal adviser in the attorney general’s office, Chris Nghaamwa, were held liable for allegedly having allowed government to fork out N$1,8 billion above the initial project cost to construct the fuel storage facility. 

Hungamo was said to have played a role in awarding the tender to a company that will see the state attending to a higher bill than what was budgeted.

The tender for the construction of the bulk fuel storage depot underway at Wavis Bay was given to CRB, a joint venture of China Harbour Engineering, the now-defunct Roads Contractor Company (RCC) and Babyface Civils in 2013.
Initially, government had budgeted N$3,699 billion for the project but the cost has since ballooned to N$5,4 billion because the bid was quoted in US dollars contrary to an express order that whoever wins the tender should quote in Namibia dollars.

Hungamo chaired the technical committee.

Shafudah was also charged in connection with that issue and issued with a final warning by Simataa.
In May, Shafudah said the ‘final written warning’ letter she received from Simataa had no basis in law as she was not given a chance to be heard as is procedure under the country’s laws.

She also strongly rejected the picture being painted of her as an incompetent and negligent person.
In September, Nghaamwa was also found not guilty, after he had been charged with negligence, failure to protect the state and to act in the interest of government.

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