20 December 2012

Namibia: Justice Ministry Probes Convicted Director

THE permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Peingeondjabi Shipoh, says the ministry has started an investigation into its director of court services, Innocent Kandandu.

Shipoh says he instructed the ministry's human resources division to establish whether or not Kandandu informed them that he had a criminal trial pending when he applied for a senior job at the ministry.

The PS yesterday said he wrote to the Regional Court in Otjiwarongo to ask exactly what Kandandu was convicted of and what his sentence was. He received feedback earlier this month but was in Angola for work. He only got to study the report this week, after which he gave the instruction to the ministry's human resources department.

Shipoh said he did not want to pre-empt any disciplinary proceedings and could not say what Kandandu's fate would be.

On November 29, The Namibian reported that Kandandu faced disciplinary charges - and possible dismissal - after he was convicted on a charge of theft in the Regional Court at Otjiwarongo.

He was convicted of theft amounting to N$86 000 in October. He was fined N$20 000 and instructed to repay the Otjozondjupa Regional Council, from where the money was stolen.

Shipoh said at the time that although he had heard rumours about Kandandu's conviction, he was "not quite aware" of it. "I have been asking for information which I did not get up to now. I just heard there is an issue."

Once more information reached his office, he would institute disciplinary measures, the PS undertook.

"You are the first one to give me this information. There will be no leniency on my side because the public service rules are there. I am definitely going to act on that."

When approached for comment in November, Kandandu claimed that he had informed the ministry of his conviction.

Asked whether he planned to appeal his conviction and sentence, he said: "That's got nothing to do with you."

Kandandu, chief regional officer Ndahafa Nghifindaka, director Liswani Kambinda and deputy director Tertius Shigweda, all employed by the Otjozondjupa Regional Council at the time, faced charges of corruption and fraud, alternatively theft, before Regional Magistrate Alexis Diergaardt.

Nghifindaka was convicted on a charge of corruption involving N$10 490 and was fined N$15 000.

Kambinda was convicted on a charge of corruption to the tune of N$44 155 and was fined N$20 000.

Shigweda, who also received a fine of N$20 000, was convicted on a charge of corruption involving N$41 653.

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