19 February 2019

Namibia: Grootfontein Officials Complain of Corruption

A GROUP of senior officials from the Grootfontein Town Council have complained to the urban development ministry about continued nepotism and corruption at the municipality.

The officials sent a letter to the ministry this month, listing seven grievances, including the misuse of power and mismanagement of council resources.

The Namibian confirmed the existence of the letter with urban development ministry officials, while the concerned Grootfontein officials declined to be named for fear of victimisation.

The officials said they have previously submitted grievances to top management, but were ignored.

The document stated that land is being sold to friends and family members under false pretences, and for half the market price.

"We are alleging [that] plots are being sold at cheaper prices," it stated.

The officials also accused the top management of the council of allowing people to build houses on sewer lines, while the municipality's building regulations prohibit it.

The document furthermore stated that officials complained about the condition of municipal equipment, which has affected service delivery at the town negatively.

The municipality is allegedly currently hiring equipment for N$1 400 per hour, instead of sending their own bulldozer for repairs.

The officials further complained of the appointment of junior officials in executive positions at the expense of experienced seniors. This has been seen as a way to promote people who will be easily manipulated by those in charge of the council.

"As a result of the misuse of power, the council is having a lot of labour cases due to the chairperson and his inexperienced management," the document stated.

Grootfontein's acting chief executive officer, Arnold Ameb, last week told The Namibian that he could not disclose much about information he did not have, adding that those who have complained should address their grievances to the municipality.

He said the employees know the council's policies, including the rules and regulations, and that they should forward their grievances there, if they have any.

Ameb added that he is only aware of one grievance from an employee, which they responded to.

The Namibian reported last year that urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga reprimanded the municipality's leaders for ignoring his directives, and questioned why a junior official was appointed as the town's acting chief executive.

The council this year suspended its finance executive, Ileni Hainghumbi, for misconduct, a week after he revealed that the cash-strapped municipality had exempted some companies from paying taxes.

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