Namibia: Pilot Refuses to Comply With Ombudsman

26 September 2019

Windhoek — A pilot employed at Air Namibia, Abner Hamukwaya, has refused to comply with the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman that ordered him and his two co-business partners in an aviation academy to refund students whose funds were allegedly misappropriated.

Hamukwaya and his two business partners, known to New Era and who refused that their names be mentioned because they have complied fully with the directive of the Ombudsman, and due to the sensitivity of their careers, were ordered to refund three students the amount of N$129 000 they paid to Delta Training Academy which the trio were running together.

The students had registered for Private Pilot Licence (licensing) training and were fully funded by the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF). Their money was paid into the account of Namibian Aviation Training Academy (NATA) that later transferred the amounts to the trio's institution. Students were then admitted to the Namibia Defence Force to do army training before they were deployed at the air force.

The students, who spoke to New Era on condition of anonymity, explained that when they left for training they had not used up most of their money but when they returned to school they found the school closed.

"When we came back to continue with school to complete our studies we found the doors closed. We were informed that our files and names were transferred to a different training academy which was true, however our money was not transferred," said one former student.

They said they subsequently approached the former school management for an explanation and demanded their money be paid so that they could continue with their studies.

"They failed to listen to us, which is why we approached the Office of the Ombudsman with our story. That office launched the investigation and concluded that indeed there was misappropriation of funds and the trio must refund us as soon as possible," they told New Era. The letter written to the trio by the chief complainants investigator states that the Ombudsman conducted an investigation into the matter and concluded that indeed various students' monies were misappropriated by the academy.

"After our interventions, a decision was made or taken for the academy to conduct a proper audit of their books. This resulted in some students being refunded or are yet to be refunded their monies while others may not be refunded because they had utilized all the monies," states the letter in possession of New Era.

Contacted for comment, Hamukwaya said that he would never spend a cent to pay back the money because he had an agreement with his co-business partners that the licence of the academy be sold so that the money be used to refund the students.

However the licence was never sold and the others decided to pay their portion of N$43 000 each to the students owed. The three were expected to refund N$$43 000 each but Hamukwaya refused to do so.

The money was paid in cash by the two businessmen into the account of the institution where the students are currently studying and some of it into the personal accounts because their parents have covered amounts from their own pockets.

Hamukwaya said he would call a press conference to shed more light on the matter with all media houses and present more evidence as to why he took the decision not to reimburse students their monies.

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