11 June 2012

Namibia: Double Blow for Karas Regional Council

Karas — The Karas Regional Council suffered another blow when the Anti-Corruption Commission declined to investigate corruption allegations it had made against its suspended top officials.

The Public Service Commission last week declared the top officials' suspension as "null and void," saying that the council had not followed the correct procedures.

The council last week suspended its chief regional officer, Saul Kahuika and planning director, Joseph Stephanus for alleged maladministration.

Unauthorised spending on a trip to South Korea, costing the council N$150 000, and a loss of N$1,8 million it had to pay Hektas Fashion as settlement for the cancellation of a tender, were given as reasons for the suspensions.

Local Government Minister Jerry Ekandjo had approved the South Korean trip, while the N$1,8 million had been paid to Hektas Fashion following a legal challenge in the High Court over the tender cancellation.

ACC director Paulus Noa last week said the complaints against the officials "do not constitute corruption".

According to Noa, the corruption allegations that were levelled against Kahuika and Stephanus are almost the same as the reasons given for their suspension.

"How can you take an administrator to court for failing to enforce a council resolution? This is pure maladministration and does not constitute corruption," Noa said.

Meanwhile, the legal representatives of Stephanus and Kahuika, Du Plessis, Cronje & Roux Attorneys, have written to the council asking that the suspensions be withdrawn with immediate effect.

The lawyers condemned the suspensions as an unfair labour practice.

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