The Namibian (Windhoek)

22 February 2013

Namibia: Aroab Village Council Denies Tender Nepotism

THE Aroab Village Council chief executive officer, Elsa Laubscher, has rejected claims of her and the councillors' alleged involvement in tender nepotism.

Local residents claimed the council had flouted tender procedures in a N$2,1 million housing project, and had instead hired councillors' relatives and cronies to build the houses.

The tender involves the construction of 39 houses, each valued at N$40 000. Calling on the Anti-Corruption Commission to "rescue them from the selfish councillors", the residents claimed that the contractors hired to build the houses didn't have the necessary know-how.

"The front side is on the back side and the back in front. There is no building engineer who inspects the houses. The management chairman is the inspector. Oh, there is a big mess. Please ACC, come and visit Aroab," one resident exclaimed.

Denying the allegations, Laubscher said there was no open tender process for the construction of the houses since the council had exempted the project from tendering to create temporary jobs for local people.

"We've realised that with an open tender process, only bidders from outside the town have won tenders. Therefore, it was decided to hire the locals to do the construction job to alleviate unemployment and poverty at the village. If the council's efforts to help the poor has a negative impact on it, then in future we'll open a tendering process for jobs which could have been done by the locals," said Laubscher.

When asked which criteria the council had used to hire local people for the construction job, Laubscher replied: "We know our people who can do the job, and we selected those who have the expertise."

Laubscher said the council planned to rent the houses to the poor at an affordable rental fee of N$100 a month.

"Only three of the houses will be rented out at a market-related fee to subsidise the others," Laubscher added.

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