Governor’s Hands Tied On Katima Findings

Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu says the probe carried out by the regional executive of Swapo that uncovered alleged corruption, favouritism and other wrongdoings at the Katima Mulilo Town Council was legitimate.

Sampofu however says he does not have the mandate to withdraw the three Swapo councillors implicated in the alleged irregularities, saying only the ruling party has such mandate.

There were concerns surrounding the legitimacy of the probe, with speculation that it did not have the blessing of the party.

“The investigations are legitimate,” declared Sampofu.

“Those councillors are there on a ticket of Swapo. If the party’s regional executive sees councillors doing something wrong, they can be questioned.

“The Swapo regional executive consulted the head office before they carried out the month-long investigation,” the governor said.

A Swapo probe found that three councillors at the town are implicated in allegations of corruption, maladministration, poor financial management, employing their relatives and awarding tenders to family and friends without following proper procedures.

The three Swapo councillors are the mayor Charles Matengu, chairperson of the management committee Saluvilla Maswahu and deputy chairperson of the management committee, Nsala Muhongo.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had earlier said its investigation into the same allegations did not find any wrongdoings.

However, a month-long probe by the Swapo regional leadership concluded that three councillors were involved in irregularities.

“What is in this report is just the tip of the iceberg of a true picture of the Katima Mulilo Town Council’s general maladministration and poor financial management,” said the report on the matter.

“It is a clear indication to hide and conceal the actual dealings of council and to continue with the looting of council resources to the detriment of its residents, the region and country at large.”

The committee urged the regional coordinator of Swapo, Linus Mafale, to recall the three councillors.

The committee also wants the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Major General (Rtd) Charles Namoloh, to place Katima CEO Charles Nawa on extended leave to allow an unhindered forensic audit at the town.

In a document seen by New Era, the investigation committee found that the allegations of irregularities have substance.

“Comrade Charles Matengu had his relative by the name of Mutau Simasiku employed as a meter reader on a two-year contract with a salary of N$4 400 per month,” the report reads in part.

“Comrade Nsala Muhongo had her son by the name of Simatta Mutwa employed as a cashier on a three-month contract with a salary of N$4 400 per month and Comrade Saluvila Maswahu had his brother by the name of Masule Linus permanently employed as a firefighter.”

Further, the report questioned the awarding of tenders and whether the systems and processes of the council are followed to the letter.

The investigation found that tenders were awarded without following proper procedures to some councillors’ friends and relatives without applying local tender board provisions.

Some tenders allegedly awarded dubiously include for the construction of roads, the installation of air-conditioners at the town council offices, renovation of the town council guest house and Nweze community hall, additional stalls at Katima Mulilo open market and de-bushing tenders.

About eight plots of land were allegedly dubiously allocated to some councillors, the CEO, friends and their family members at the expense of the masses.

These plots range from industrial, business to residential and were all allocated without any application.

One of the controversial business plots is a five-hectare piece of land along the Zambezi River along the Ngoma Road which Nawa allocated to himself after expropriating it from the late Swapo councillor for Sibbinda Constituency, Felix Mukupi.

Source : New Era