20 December 2017

Namibia: Police Confiscate Drought Relief Food

POLICE at Grootfontein on Monday confiscated 33 bags of rice meant for the drought relief programme from a community member after a tip-off by the public.

Police's spokesperson, Kauna Shikwambi, confirmed to The Namibian yesterday that the police in the region intervened after it was alerted to the unprocedural distribution of drought relief food.

The food was being kept at Nangolo Frans' house, who allegedly got it from the Grootfontein constituency Swapo councillor, Nelao Amagulu.

According to Shikwambi, the food was only given to a selected few and was being transported at night in private cars and taxis.

"We did not establish how many bags were given out so far, but the investigation will continue to verify the facts," Shikwambi said.

Shikwambi, however, said that no arrests were made so far.

Swapo's Grootfontein district coordinator, John Haimbodi, also told The Namibian yesterday that the food was found at Frans' house.

Haimbodi also claimed that Amagulu also kept some of the food at her house and that it was not the first time that the councillor was giving the drought relief food only to those who were close to her.

He claimed that the two were also falsely compiling a list of people on a piece of paper as evidence that the food had been given to community members and demanded payment of about N$5 to N$10 from community members.

Amagulu yesterday denied these claims. She said the food was left over after they distributed some to farmers.

"After we finished giving to the farmers, we told the members of the distribution committee to submit names of the people in need of immediate help through the radio," Amaguku said.

She added that "members of the distribution committee" were then permitted to collect the food from the constituency office "to distribute to those they had identified. Therefore they had to keep the food at their houses".

Amagulu, however, confirmed that the beneficiaries were registered on a piece of paper but were not told to pay anything "since the food was not for sale".

"The food that we get from the Office of the Prime Minister is for everyone in need. We do not consider political parties or background when we are giving it out," Amagulu said.

On the other hand, the councillor also claimed that the police wrongly confiscated the food without confirming with her office, which she said delayed the process of distributing food.

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