20 August 2018

Namibia: Katima Chief Executive Arrested

The chief executive officer of the Katima Mulilo Town Council Raphael Liswaniso was arrested yesterday over allegations of corruption.

Zambezi regional police spokesperson, Kisco Sitali, confirmed the arrest to The Namibian yesterday.

"He is in police custody, and is yet to be formally charged [today]. I will only have more information after he is charged,"Sitali said.

Liswaniso is expected to make his first appearance in the Katima Mulilo Magistrate's Court today.

A source said the CEO, who has only been in office for one year, was arrested yesterday after he landed at the Mpacha Airport around 12h30.

"His warrant of arrest was overdue, but he could not be arrested [sooner] as he was out of town for two weeks," said the source.

The source further alleged that Liswaniso awarded a tender which was not approved by the Central Procurement Board (CPB). So, the CPB forwarded the case to the attorney general's office, which facilitated the issuance of a warrant for his arrest. It is not clear what the tender was for, nor the amount involved.

Liswaniso, who is a former Walvis Bay municipal employee, was appointed CEO of Katima Mulilo in August last year to replace Charles Nawa, who resigned in July 2016.

During his acceptance speech last year, Liswaniso vowed that corruption at the town will not continue under his watch, and that it will become a green town again.

"I am not going to allow corruption. I am very strict when it comes to corruption. We do not use a public entity for our own benefit, and this will be as such as far as my office is concerned. When you come to my office, come for professional reasons. I have a house if you want to visit me on a personal basis," he stressed at the time.

Earlier this year in March, New Era reported that Omatando Construction Company, owned by Kornelius Mbangula and Linken Chibozu, had accused the town council of dubiously awarding tenders in the town. This emerged after the company lost a bid to construct sewers at Choto in a deal worth about N$3 million.

Manager of Omatando at Katima Mulilo, Linken Chibozu, had claimed that his company deserved to be awarded the tender as they only quoted N$3, 2 million but that the town council resolved to award the tender to a Chinese-owned company, ABC Investment, that quoted N$3,4 million. However, these allegations were not confirmed and the council denied them.Chibozu at the time also accused Liswaniso of not being "a man of his word", saying that Liswaniso had said only local companies should be awarded tenders, while allegedly awarding a tender of bins supply to a company owned by his brother, and whose business address was allegedly at Walvis Bay.

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