Suspended council staff pocket N$6m

The municipality of Gobabis, which is struggling to provide basic services to residents, is paying millions to six suspended senior executives while they sit idle at home, waiting to be billed for more than a year.

The six, whose salaries range between N$900,000 and N$1.1 million a year, have been suspended since June and August last year.

Collectively, their salaries amount to N$6.3 million per year.

The group consisted of HR Manager Frieda Shimakeleni, Electrical Services Manager Johannes Nantuua, HR Manager Ashipala Shilemba, Finance, IT and Procurement Manager Fillemon Makili, IT Technician Paul Kayambu and IT manager Kondjeni Nghiwanapo.

The six were suspended between June and August last year for allegedly disobeying or ignoring work-related orders, revealing confidential information about the board to unauthorized persons and interfering with or tampering with evidence relating to another investigation in Classes.

Gobabis Municipality President Sylvester Binga confirmed the pending suspension yesterday, adding that the municipality was hiring lawyers and planned to charge the six people this month.

Meanwhile, the six late last year lost an urgent court case in which they sought an order declaring their suspension illegal, invalid and overturned.

They also sought an order declaring council meetings and resolutions passed on various dates in May, July and August invalid and of no effect.

Officials also wanted the court to overturn the appointment of Steve Adonis as the municipality’s CEO and any decision he may have made.

In his latest report, the Auditor General, Junias Kandjeke, rips the Omaheke Regional Council and the Gobabis Municipality for their failure to account for the public resources entrusted to them.

Both entities were slapped with adverse and disclaimer audit opinions, respectively, by the Auditor General’s office.

For years, the GA has had skirmishes in Omaheke due to a barrage of irregularities – whether at the municipality or the regional council.

“I was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion,” Kandjeke said of Gobabis Municipality in its 2019 audit report.

Auditors were also unable to obtain evidence to verify municipally owned land.

In the prior year, adjustments of N$5.1 million were made to the land and trust fund balances to reflect the value of land previously excluded from accounting records.

However, this was not reflected in the opening balances brought forward from the 2017/18 financial year.

“The auditors have not received a new valuation of all land owned by the municipality or the valuation methodology and accompanying assumptions,” Kandjeke found.

In addition, the auditors found an internal deficiency and poor management of capital projects by the municipality.

2022-08-02 Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

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