President to Declare Assets This Week

PRESIDENT Hage Geingob is expected to make public his assets and net worth this week, The Namibian has learnt.

State House sources said that although Geingob had promised to declare his assets during the second week of May, the process took longer than he had anticipated.

Geingob said during his first State of the Nation Address that he felt obliged to declare his personal assets and business interests in the name of transparency, good governance and managing conflict of interests.

State House sources said the process took longer because auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers had to make use of international experts to conduct a thorough audit. The auditing firm allegedly had to enlist the services of partners from the USA, because Geingob wanted an audit that is of international standard.

Sources said it was the same experts who handled and audited US president Barack Obama’s asset declaration.

State House sources said the process was in its final stages, while the report and declaration of First Lady Monica Geingos’ assets was concluded and is ready for disclosure.

Presidential affairs minister Frans Kapofi could not confirm the declaration set for this week but said the process was taking time and assured that “the President has not forgotten his commitment”.

This comes amid a public spat between National Assembly Speaker Peter Katjavivi and political commentator Henning Melber about Geingob’s declaration of his assets.

Melber was quoted as telling a public lecture that Geingob might face an uphill battle to get members of his Cabinet to declare their assets since he had not declared his assets when he was just a member of parliament and a minister.

Melber was quoted as asking “How does he (Geingob) expect ministers to be open with their declarations if he had not been living up to this before he was President? I would like to see how he responds if the ministers remind him of that. Of course, why should they not be entitled to the same that he practised in the office before? They will be reasoning that they know him (Geingob) and how he acted before”.

Katjavivi then issued a media statement denouncing Melber’s claims.

Katjavivi said Melber was misleading the nation about the declaration of assets by parliamentarians and government leaders.

“We would like to make it clear that this document (of assets) has gone through various consultations and is now being presented before the house for formal operationalisation. We also want to make it clear that it is not the first time that members of the National Assembly have been required to make declarations of their assets,” said Katjavivi, adding that Geingob had always complied with the requirement and it is on record.

He said Geingob’s aim is to continue to uphold the code of conduct with respect to the declaration of assets and interest by public office bearers as well as their closest family members which should be encouraged.

The National Assembly last published its asset register, where members declared their interests and wealth, in 2009. Since then law makers have been disobeying their own laws by not declaring assets.

In 2009 President Geingob declared that he held shares in firms called Aradis and Hada Loha.

Geingob declared ownership of a company called HG Consultancy, a controversial firm through which he became a ‘consultant’ and ‘aised’ the government to award a mining licence to UraMin (the company from which the French parastatal Areva bought Trekkopje in the Namib Desert). That job earned him N$2,5 million.

He had a Nedbank cheque account, an account in London from 1987 and an account in Washington which had more than N$20 000 at the time.

Geingob has owned a house in Windhoek since 1992 and co-owns houses in Swakopmund and Henties Bay. He also had a mortgage with Nedbank and received a leather case worth N$1 000 in August 2006 as a gift.

At the time he declared that he did not receive any discounts on his travels nor did he receive any sponsorships.

Source : The Namibian