ACC Probes Unam Tender

Barely five days after the University of Namibia suspended its Centre for Consultancy Bureau director, Akiser Pomuti, the university on Monday suspended its pro-vice chancellor for administration and finance, Dr Boniface Mutumba.

Although the university denied that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is involved, ACC Director Paulus Noa confirmed to New Era yesterday its investigators were indeed part and parcel of the investigations, which he says commenced at the beginning of the year.

“We have a case that we are investigating relating to allegations of awarding tenders at the University of Namibia. Investigations started earlier this year, and are still ongoing,” said Noa.

The University of Namibia (Unam) Centre for Consultancy Bureau (UCCB), which Pomuti leads, is responsible for tendering for contracted projects in which Unam has expertise.

“Both [suspended staffers] have not been charged yet. It is not very unusual for an institution to conduct an investigation of its staff members. These two officials are suspended to prevent them from hindering the investigations,” said the director for communications and marketing at Unam, Edwin Tjiramba.

The registrar Alois Fledersbacher has been appointed to act in Mutumba’s capacity for the entire duration of the investigations. Being found guilty, according to sources, could signal the end of the former soldier’s academic career at Unam spanning over 10 years after starting off as a senior political lecturer.

Tjiramba told New Era yesterday that investigations into the matter would be conducted internally and denied that the ACC was involved.

Tjiramba would not divulge what the university was investigating against Mutumba and Pomuti.

Although Tjiramba denied that the two suspensions were related, inside sources claim that Mutumba’s office and that of Pomuti are closely linked by virtue of their finance-related nature, hence there could be g ties between the two cases as any tendering or procurement activities need to be approved by the finance office, which is led by Mutumba.

“I know it has something to do with finances and it involves huge amounts of money, therefore it has national implications. It cannot be a coincidence that two people have been suspended in less than five days,” said a senior source from Unam who requested anonymity.

Both senior officials were suspended with full pay.

At a briefing held on Monday to make public Mutumba’s suspension, Tjiramba said the suspension was in no way punitive action, adding: “It is rather a measure only to allow the investigation of a certain matter to be completed unhindered in order to allow the staff member to have a fair hearing subsequently.”

Unam has had its fair share of dismissals involving senior academics, notable among them Dr John Lilemba who was unceremoniously shown the door and is currently lecturing at one of the universities in Zambia.

Source : New Era