4 February 2013

Namibia: Kunene Probes Sale of Drought Relief Food

THE Khorixas police are hot on the heels of a man who is alleged to have sold drought relief food after the person who bought the maize meal revealed the suspect's identity to the police.

This came after the Khorixas Constituency office and the #Aodaman Traditional Authority started a full-scale investigation into allegations of the sale of drought relief food and favouritism in its distribution.

Jocania Haraeb (39) who claimed last week to have bought two bags of drought relief maize meal, was summoned to the #Aodaman Traditional Authority offices at Khorixas and questioned in the presence of constituency office officials.

Two weeks ago Haraeb caused a scene at the Khorixas Constituency office when he was informed that he was not on the list of drought relief recipients.

Haraeb was declared disabled in 2009 and could not understand why he was taken off the recipients' list.

Charles Ruiter from the Khorixas Constituency office asked Haraeb from whom he had bought the bags of maize meal.

Haraeb refused to reveal the identity of the person, only saying that he bought it on January 17 and 22 this year".

Haraeb said he bought the two 12,5kg bags of maize meal for N$30 and N$40 respectively.

Jeremiah Kava, the Kunene regional technical director, said drought aid is not for sale and this is clearly written on the bags, adding that it is a serious offence.

The process of registration for drought relief aid was then explained to Haraeb, who said no one had explained it to him before.

Haraeb lives on a farm in the Khorixas Constituency, where no livestock farming or any economic activity takes place.

A senior member of the traditional authority suggested that the case be handed over to the police since Haraeb is refusing to identify the person from whom he had bought the maize.

Upon this Haraeb said: "Let's go to police station so I can reveal the name there."

He is said to have revealed the identity of the person to the police and it is only a matter of time before the police will arrest the suspect.

The meeting at the #Aodaman Traditional Authority also touched on claims that the beneficiaries of drought relief aid are mainly members of the United Democratic Front (UDF).

Kava of the Kunene Regional Council said such allegations would be difficult to prove.

The governor of the Kunene Region, Joshua //Hoabeb, told The Namibian during his visit to Khorixas on Wednesday that "the distribution food is not meant for political purposes but to help communities in need".

Hoabeb called on witnesses to come forward with evidence of drought relief food being sold, or that only members of certain political parties are benefitting.

"Someone will not just make such allegations without evidence, therefore come forward," the governor said.

Hoabeb said other constituencies in Kunene that are receiving drought relief aid had not reported such problems.

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