14 September 2017

Namibia: NUST Student Leader Calls for Audit

Windhoek — Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) council member Oscar Mwandingi says the institution should call in an external auditor to look into its financial position after it presented wrong financial figures for January 2017.

The financial figures in question were reportedly presented to the NUST Council and its stakeholders.

Mwandingi, who is also the institution's student representative council (SRC) president, said NUST omitted the money generated from two NUST hotels, namely the hotel school and hotel pension in the cash flow statement presented to the government in January 2017.

He said these two hotels were operational but the money was not recognised in the cash flow statement hence he wanted to know what happened to the funds from those two hotels.

He said the council had a meeting early this month where the cash flow statement of January 2017 was presented, which indicated that the only money generated in that month (January) was income from the government subsidy and student tuition fees.

Mwandingi also said the statement indicated they had a deficit of N$25 million in January.

Mwandingi said he suspects someone used the cash flow report to convince the government the institution is broke while it is not.

Mwandingi told the media that as a council member he signed a non-disclosure agreement but he had addressed and asked questions regarding the matter and no one responded.

"But if you are in the council and ask questions and people are not responding to it and not taking action to the issues, what do you do? You send emails and everyone is copied in but no one is responding," he said at the press conference.

He said he kept on sending emails to council members indicating that he needs to find out where the money is.

Mwandingi said the only person who responded was the council chairperson, who requested management to provide full disclosure of all the information they are seeking.

Mwandingi said this is a serious issue and management can't be asked to present full disclosure but should call in an external auditor.

Mwandingi added that in the council there is only one member who understands accounting. "For me, I am studying accounting and they will say I am a student and unable to question these things, but I have a cash flow in my hands and it's blank and even on the projections for January 2018 there is a figure indicating how much will be generated."

He said that the cash flow presented does not meet any international standards.

"As a public institution, proceedings in the meetings form a fulcrum of the corporate governance structures and reporting systems that are effective for informed decision-making. My first and second email I wrote to the council members called for immediate action to mitigate or manage the risk identified. I never got an active response from all members of council," he said at Tuesday's briefing.

Mwandingi said he is doing this hoping it will force the council to institute a full investigation into the financial situation of NUST because presenting wrong financial figures to council and stakeholders is a big offence.

When contacted for comment yesterday the NUST vice-chancellor Dr Tjama Tjivikua's mobile went unanswered.

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