Namibia: ACC Ponders Kanime's Fate

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The Anti-Corruption Commission is yet to decide on whether to investigate a complaint by Windhoek's chief executive officer, Robert Kahimise.

ACC spokesperson Josefina Nghituwamhata told The Namibian last week that Kahimise registered a complaint with the anti-graft body.

Although Nghituwamhata did not reveal the details of the case, The Namibian understands that it has to do with the holding of an alleged illegal council meeting which approved the reappointment of City Police chief Abraham Kanime last month.

Nghituwamhata said the case was still being evaluated by ACC director general Paulus Noa for a decision on whether to investigate (in the event of a criminal case) or refer back to the municipality (in case of an administrative case).

"Further, note that once a case is reported to the ACC, a file is opened and a case is registered on the system. Thereafter, it is submitted to the director-general for a decision. Once the decision is made it will now depend if it is earmarked for investigation or is declined for investigation," she said.

Kahimise is among a number of people against the process followed by the municipal council to convene a meeting that approved Kamine's contract.

Kanime was awarded a contract of N$2,5 million a year last month - a couple of months after resigning from the municipality's police wing.

His appointment was allegedly rushed through to avoid creating a leadership vacuum at the City Police.

Kanime's new contract would now see him earn over N$200 000 per month for three years.

Kahimise and opposition councillors at the municipality are, however, against the process taken to approve the contract.

The CEO had initially tried to stop the council meeting from taking place by way of an urgent application filed in the High Court.

Kahimise in an affidavit submitted in the High Court on 28 April said the council meeting took place in contravention of the lockdown regulations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Kahimise also raised other procedural issues that were overlooked by the councillors in approving Kanime's contract.

"I submit that the meeting that was initially scheduled for 23 April 2020 was to discuss ordinary business of the council, the agenda does not contain items that are critical or essential. [... ] Despite having given the council members a clear warning of their unlawful conduct and requesting them to desist from holding a council meeting in circumstances, it would appear that they nonetheless proceeded to hold such a meeting," Kahimise said in court papers.

That case was, however, withdrawn from the court roll at the last minute as it was scheduled to be heard after the meeting had already taken place.

RDP councillor Brunhilde Cornelius is also questioning the legality of the disputed council meeting. In a statement last week she claimed the decision to retain Kanime was taken in contravention of the anti-corruption law "by taking an unlawful decision with the intention to give gratification to chief Kanime".

"Clearly this decision was contrary to the regulations and therefore unlawful because Kanime had resigned and not retired. He can only be retained if he had retired," Cornelius stressed.

Another councillor, Ignatius Semba of the Popular Democratic Movement is also calling for the council's decision to reappoint Kanime to be nullified because it was approved by an illegal meeting.

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