Namibia: Ministerial Resignations Not Enough - Lpm

LANDLESS People's Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi says forcing corrupt members of the Cabinet to resign is not enough.

Swartbooi said this at a press conference in Windhoek yesterday, venting over issues around prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila's controversial N$15 million farm deal, the sudden resignation of Peter Vilho, the minister of defence and veterans affairs, and Swapo's "no-show" on the //Kharas Regional Council management.

"President Hage Geingob is of the view that when allegations of corruption against his Cabinet come, the best action he can take that will be satisfactory to the people of this country is to impose resignation on ministers," he said.

Swartbooi said ministers who resign due to corruption allegations should be subject to the full investigation of every agency of the law so that state resources that may have been captured could be returned to the treasury.

"However, investigations are also used to clear the name of any person, including that of former defence minister Vilho, if he was indeed not involved in corruption," Swartbooi said.

He asked that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigate Vilho's alleged corruption without bias.

Vilho resigned last week after having sat down with Geingob to discuss alleged corruption involving N$2,8 million which was undeclared in a Hong Kong account.

Vilho failed to declare his offshore account to the parliament as is legally required. His resignation was accepted by the president last week.

Swartbooi further asked the ACC to investigate government parastatal August 26 to establish if funds were really spent on acquiring weapons to protect Namibia's sovereignty.

He claimed his party has found evidence of Namibian Defence Force soldiers in residential areas causing trouble in the community, instead of being stationed at the border around the time the Botswana Defence Force killed Namibians along the Zambezi River.

Swartbooi said the entire defence force budget and spending are areas of concern and have to be looked into.

"We are informed that the huge defence budget that is given every year does not filtrate to the lower levels of the force and benefit these members (soldiers). For them, we will be putting up a fight in this year's budget and in parliament going forward," he said.

PRIME MINISTER'S CONTROVERSY

Swartbooi also commented on the recent controversy around Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and her husband, Tobias Amadhila, involving a N$15 million farm deal.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform bought two farms from a company owned by the prime minister and her husband for more than N$14 million.

This amount is alleged to have been excessively inflated.

One farm was valued at N$3,8 million when the company acquired it in 2011, and the other was valued at N$1,4 million when bought.

The company sold the two farms to the government last year for more than N$14 million, making a profit of about N$10 million from the deal.

Swartbooi says Kuugongelwa-Amadhila wanted about N$3 500 per hectare for each of these farms.

He said it was suspicious that the government sent out its own valuators instead of sending external, private valuators to ensure transparency.

"It also came to the attention of the LPM that the information about the true valuation of the farms was not trustworthy in accordance with the true market value, and the PM could have made a clean N$9 million profit from the sales of the farms," the party said.

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