The Namibian (Windhoek)

20 November 2012

Namibia: Use of Ministerial Letterheads in Swapo Campaigns Becomes Issue

HAGE Geingob campaign managers do not see anything wrong with using the letter head of the Ministry of Trade in their application for the private use of the presidential jet.

Geingob’s use of the presidential jet has been used by especially the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) to suggest that the trade minister receives preferential treatment over the other two candidates in the run for the Swapo vice presidency.

In his request for the use of the jet, Geingob said that he should be invoiced in his personal capacity.

Esau Mbako, Geingob’s personal assistant, said yesterday that the Ministry of Works should have raised the issue of the letterhead to them when the request was received.

According Mbako it was up to the ministry to state that the application process was done incorrectly.

“We have done nothing wrong. In fact Dr Geingob is not the first minister and will not be the last to lease the jet for private use,” he said.

He said they always use ministerial letterheads when corresponding with other people.

Reports surfaced yesterday that Geingob would pay less than expected as he would be charged a ministerial rate for the private use of the jet.

The use of State resources by Swapo ministers for party-related matters over the weekend re-emerged with the three Swapo vice presidential candidates using their official vehicles on their campaign trails.

The other two candidates contesting the party’s vice president position are secretary general Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and Swapo secretary for information Jerry Ekandjo.

Geingob used the presidential jet for his campaign flights to the Kavango and Caprivi regions at the weekend.

Mbako said yesterday that the Geingob team followed the correct procedures and they were surprised that they were not stopped in their tracks by the Ministry of Works for using the wrong letterhead.

Mbako admitted that he had used the ministry’s letterhead and that he did not see anything wrong with that because they indicated in the letters that Geingob would pay the cost personally.

Works and Transport Permanent Secretary Peter Mwatile said there are two rates for the use of the presidential jet, one for ministerial use and another for private use.

The PS declined to say how much it costs to rent the jet.

“If they applied as private, they will be charged as such,” he said.

Mwatile said the ministry had not yet sent Geingob an invoice.

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