Dirty tactics at play

Political campaigning fuel false rumours

12 November 2018 | Government

Immanuel Wilfred; Walvis Bay Mayor; “Concerning myself, I have proof of everything.

Otis Finck - Allegations of wrongdoing at the municipality are merely distractions, says Immanuel Wilfred, the mayor of Walvis Bay.

Wilfred said investigations are underway to determine where council might have failed and assured stakeholders that the institution will not condone any unbecoming behaviour from officials and office bearers.

“We have always given our full cooperation to any investigating authorities in order to enable the establishment of the truth and nothing but the truth.”

He emphasised that the primary role of council and councillors are to safeguard and represent the interest of all residents and customers.

“We therefore remain committed to the wellbeing of the inhabitants as well as the growth and development of the port city.”

Wilfred’s reassurance came after councillor Simson Nghilumbwa, who is also chairperson of council’s management committee, was placed on a 30-day suspension last month.

This was done to allow for a thorough investigation into Nghilumbwa’s spending habits after allegations surfaced that he allegedly abused his official municipal credit card to the tune of N$83 000 over a five-month period. Allegations were levelled against him by a whistle-blower in a letter to the ACC dated 25 September 2018. He was issued with a credit card for official council related expenses but his spending patterns raised questions on whether the card was used for intended purposes by him.

In response to a question about him (mayor) also being accused of fraudulent credit card activities in posts circulating on social media and messages on WhatsApp groups Wilfred said the issue was of a very sensitive nature.

“Those being accused have decided not to go to the newspapers due to the interim process which is ongoing and being followed. Concerning myself I have proof of everything. I do not have problems or issue with the processes taking place.”

Wilfred emphasised that there was no way he could have done the things he was accused of since there are mechanisms in place that needs to be followed.

“Three persons in particular are being targeted and attacked by faceless individuals. One needs to ask why this is happening. It’s election time and very obvious that people are searching for positions.”

He also pointed out that the mayoral Mercedes Benz he uses for official business trips has its own petrol card.

“I am a successful businessman and own properties. I also own companies and for example supply equipment from Spain and other countries to the mines. I applied to the Development Bank of Namibia and received a loan.”

Wilfred further dismissed allegations that he pockets N$300 000 per month from the gym in Kuisebmond and said it did not make sense.

“If that was the case I was supposed to be a millionaire by this time. I am a founder of the gym in Kuisebmond and was instrumental in campaigning for its construction.”

He expressed the opinion that the gym will become a white elephant if he cut ties with the facility.

“I’ve put a lot of my own equipment into it due to my love for sport and not for the purpose of making money. Many wonder how I manage to maintain the facility where the elderly and paraplegic persons can practise free of charge.’

Paulus Noa, director general of the ACC, reminded councillors via a speech at the 2nd Joint ALAN AGM and 7th AMICAALL annual partners orientation in Walvis Bay last month that one or two scandals of corruption involving conflict of interest, mismanagement of public resources and disappearance of public funds is enough for the public to perceive all local authorities’ leadership as being corrupt.

Noah advised that when mismanagement of resources occurs actions must be taken immediately against the culprits to demonstrate the disapproval of such conducts.

“When the public sees those who are accused of conflict of interest and maladministration being elevated to higher positions without being subjected to administrative justice, they start losing confidence in the leadership and management of public institutions.”

He added that the most common allegations of corruption concerning conflict of interest relate to tenders where employees fail to declare conflict of interest, put forward their disguised companies and motivate for the awarding of the tenders to such companies in which they have interest.

“At times prices are inflated with full assurance that the tender will be awarded to a preferred contractor.”

Questions posed to Noah on the progress of the investigation involving Nghilumbwa and the possibility of other councillors being investigated for similar offenses went unanswered.

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