14 February 2013

Namibia: Millions Allegedly Missing from NABTA

More than N$2 million is allegedly unaccounted for from the coffers of the faction-riven Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta), according to its national secretary, Vespa Muunda.

According to Muunda, all fingers are pointing at its former administrator, Uapingene Karuaera. Muunda is adamant that Nabta has been left in a state of disarray after Karuaera left following a fallout with some members of the executive of the beleaguered bus and taxi organization.

Karuaera and some others have since formed the rival Namibia Public Passenger Transport Association (NPPTA). He also apportioned some of the blame to former Nabta vice-president, Innocent Simasiku and the incumbent president Magnus Nangombe for the alleged misappropriation of funds.

"They have to be implicated in the mismanagement [of funds]," added the outspoken Muunda, saying that after they carried out a check of all records in the office, they came to the realization that money was missing. Muunda said they will soon engage the services of auditors to determine the exact amount that is at stake.

Karauera however dismissed Muunda's allegations, saying that if they were in fact true, then Muunda ought to have taken the matter to court already. He said it is ironic that Muunda and company who were the ones who refused to pay membership fees or contribute to the hosting of the 2005 congress in Otjiwarongo, should make such an allegation.

"They are in dreamland. Go to court and open a case, then it would be proper to address this matter," Karuaera fired back, adding that he was prepared at any time to defend his good name and to tell exactly what transpired. Simasiku was equally dismissive of the allegation calling it a lie.

"Those guys should stop spreading lies," he said. According to him the so-called missing N$2 million comes as news to him, since there was no money coming into the association's Nedbank account, except for the money collected by loading masters.

Just a few weeks back Nabta was stripped of its status as an employer organization after it became apparent that the association failed on several occasions to submit documents of its annual returns and constitution to the Labour Commission.

According to the commission's Fabiola Katjivena, Nabta was asked time and again to present its financials and company constitution, but failed to respond to the requests, which eventually led to its suspension.

However, she was quick to point out that it does not mean that the association could not operate as an organization or company, which she added was something only the Ministry of Trade and Industry or the Ministry of Works and Transport could decide on.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, Kilus Nguvauva, confirmed to New Era that he met some members of Nabta, but sent the entourage to the Labour Commission to verify the organization's constitution since it differed from the one the members presented to the Labour Commissioner.

Muunda claims Karuaera gave the Labour Commission an altered constitution without communicating with the executive of the association. He also charges that Nabta's original constitution was stolen and as a result the association cannot open a bank account since one of the requirements of banks is that they provide one.

But Karuaera shot back this week, saying the Nabta constitution was amended at the 2005 congress where everyone was present.

He said that when they took the constitution to the Labour Commission, they were advised to amend certain sections to include regions, a preamble and to indicate the financial year-end.

Karuaera said Nabta was not in a position to make decisions as their term of office already expired in 2010. "They are not even supposed to be in that office (at Rhino Park)," said the former Nabta office administrator. He said that the confrontation his organization had with Nabta could have been avoided, had they known that Nabta "does not exist" according to the records of the Labour Commission.

Nabta president Nangombe could not be reached at the time of going to press.

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