Protestors demand answers for missing millions

Residents demonstrated about alleged corruption and poor service delivery at the Walvis Bay municipality.

05 November 2020 | Local News

Knowledge Ipinge; Urban constituency councillor; “We demand that an independent forensic audit be launched immediately…”

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

An estimated 150 youth demonstrated against alleged corruption and poor service delivery by the Walvis Bay municipality.

The demonstration was organised by Knowledge Ipinge, urban constituency councillor for Walvis Bay, who has been very vocal about N$24 million that is apparently missing from the Massive Urban Land Servicing Project.

The demonstrators demand that the municipality stop abusing public funds and that the responsible parties at the municipality be internally charged and removed from their positions with immediate effect.

“We demand that an independent forensic audit be launched immediately along with a conclusive investigation covering all alleged corruption within the municipality related to the Massive Urban Land Servicing Project as well as other related matters that residents have been raising over the years.”

Ipinge said that the protestors want the municipality to be people-centric, corruption free and accessible as well as directed towards creation of jobs and provision of quality services to all residents.

“We want the municipality to abolish the use of consultants and contractors to perform basic municipal functions such as repairing of our terrible roads.”

He urged everyone with relevant information to come forward and assist in the name of transparency and to clear the municipality’s name.

The protestors also want all municipal agreements especially related to land and housing deals over the past years, to be made public and accessible to all residents in a bid to improve service delivery and fight corruption in the municipality.

However, the handing over of the petition did not materialise as no one was available to receive it. When the demonstrators threatened to break down the doors of the municipal head office in the presence of police officers on the scene, the municipality delegated their public relations manager Kevin Adams to accept the petition.

This did not sit well with the protestors who demanded to see the CEO Muronga Haingura who, upon inquiry, stated that he was in a meeting.

At 16:00 the protestors were still waiting outside.

In the petition, Ipinge stated that at the last Erongo council ordinary meeting he refused to adopt the municipality’s audited annual statements for the financial year ending 30 June 2018 due to an estimated N$24 million missing for the Massive Land Servicing Project.

“Haingura claimed on the national broadcaster in September that the missing millions were in a suspense account and that they were busy reconciling the funds, which according to him, was very easy to trace. Eagle FM also published a news article in which mayor Wilfried Immanuel claimed that a meeting will be held to provide clarity on the missing millions. Furthermore, we have taken note of the CEO’s reckless statements in the Windhoek Observer on Wednesday in relation to alleged banking errors.”

Ipinge was adamant that until this date his office did not receive any official correspondence or feedback on the errors.

“On 3 November 2020, a dubious recon sheet was sent to my office by the property manager of the Walvis Bay municipality, Jack Manale. No write up or motivation accompanied the sheet. Shockingly, the recon sheet left me with more questions than answers as it raised a whole lot of red flags while I browsed through it. This has the potential to open a can of worms when compared to the primary recon I received in August 2020.”

Ipinge once again emphasised that as the Auditor General's report adversely states, there is no acceptable reporting framework in place at the municipality, which makes fraud and corruption easy.

“We have it on record that millions linked to over 40 registered houses due to the municipality of Walvis Bay are missing and unaccounted for by relevant departments within the municipality. We also have it on record that the municipality of Walvis Bay has spent close to N$42 million to pay a security company to guard over 80 empty houses linked to the Massive Urban Land Servicing Project.”