4 December 2012

Namibia: Minister Did Pay for Jet

TRADE and Industry Minister Hage Geingob paid about N$150 000 for the presidential jet he used during his campaign for the Swapo vice presidency.

The payment was made after The Namibian published two news reports that Geingob’s campaign team had misled the Ministry of Works and Transport about his use of the presidential jet.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Peter Mwatile, yesterday confirmed that Geingob paid the bill after they invoiced him on November 22 for the private use of the Lear jet.

“He paid over N$150 000. He paid what he was supposed to pay,” Mwatile said.

Geingob’s campaign was criticised by government officials for failing to disclose that the jet was hired for personal use and that the cost would be paid privately too.

Geingob’s personal assistant, Esau Mbako, requested the aircraft under the guise of ministerial use although it was used for the trade minister’s campaign.

Mbako made two requests, dated November 9 and 15, on the letterhead of the Trade and Industry Ministry.

Mwatile complained to the permanent secretary of Trade and Industry, Malan Lindeque, that the request was explicitly made for the use of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, “but now we are told verbally that these travels were private and the honourable minister [Geingob] will advance payments as an individual”.

“Colleague, your good office is kindly requested to provide to this ministry the individual particulars where we can invoice the relevant tariff rates at your soonest convenient time,” Mwatile wrote to them few days before Geingob paid the cost.

Mbako told The Namibian recently that he told the junior flight operations officer, Simon Kakwambi, after submitting the request that it was for personal use.

He did not realise that he needed to state categorically that the aircraft would be hired for private use.

At the weekend’s Swapo congress, Geingob retained his position as the party’s vice president, a position that makes him Swapo’s candidate in the next presidential election in 2014.

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