12 September 2017

Namibia: ACC Probes Keetmanshoop Managers

THE Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating senior officials at the Keetmanshoop Town Council over alleged corruption.

The officials being investigated are Keetmanshoop chief executive officer Desmond Basson, local economic development manager Jegg Christiaan and technical services manager Nimrod Swartz.

Sources at the council informed The Namibian yesterday that an ACC investigator last week questioned the three managers over the corruption allegations levelled against them.

ACC director Paulus Noa yesterday did not confirm the investigation since he was out of office, but referred The Namibian to the ACC's chief investigator, Nelius Becker.

However, attempts to get comment from Becker by the time of going to print proved unsuccessful as his cellphone went unanswered.

The Namibian has established that Christiaan was questioned by an ACC investigator over his alleged "corrupt reinstatement" by the previous council in September 2014, following his dismissal earlier that year over a host of misconduct charges, including disobeying work-related orders, absenteeism, breach of trust, insolence, and using abusive language.

He has also been implicated in questionable land deals at the town. It is alleged that Christiaan abused his position to influence some land deals to benefit his relatives, as well as land deals for himself. He is also suspected of having a "corrupt business relationship" with a local company, which was recently awarded a tender at the town.

Christiaan yesterday confirmed being questioned by an ACC investigator, but said the allegations of corruption levelled against him were "unfounded".

He said he welcomed the investigation, adding that he hoped it would "unearth the real corruption" happening at the council.

Basson is being investigated over alleged irregularities around his employment contract, the appointment of a temporary worker, and a long-service certificate printed in the name of a council employee who has long since passed away.

"I hope the investigation will put to rest these allegations, which were also levelled against me in the past," Basson said yesterday, while labelling the charges against him as a "witch-hunt".

Swartz is reportedly under investigation over an alleged conflict of interest.

When approached for comment yesterday, Swartz replied "this has f*ck-all to do with you" (sic).

He also threatened to beat up this reporter if he dared to report on the corruption probe against him.

The Namibian recently reported that Keetmanshoop's management committee chairperson, Gabriel Freyer, admitted that Swartz had been appointed last year as technical manager, despite the interviewing panel recommending that the position be readvertised.

In its recommendation, seen by The Namibian, the panel noted that Swartz was disqualified for not having the needed qualifications for the position.

It further stated that two other applicants interviewed were also not suitable for the position due to a lack of engineering experience, although they had the required qualifications.

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