Suspended Omaruru Chief Executive Officer, Edward Paul Ganaseb, who has been sitting at home since 2012, while earning his salary and benefits, has finally been charged by the Office of the Prosecutor General, in connection with a corruption case involving N$1 million.
Since his suspension in 2012, the Omaruru Municipality has paid more than N$2 million to Ganaseb, which includes his monthly salary and benefits, such as medical aid and housing, vehicle and cellphone allowances.
His contract is set to expire on 8 May.
Chief Investigating Officer for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in the Erongo region, Walter Kurz, told the Windhoek Observer this week that Ganaseb and businessman, Ruddy Hinanifa, were scheduled to appear in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court on 27 and 28 February, and 1 March.
However, the case is likely to be postponed, after Ganaseb’s lawyers, Murorua, Kurtz and Kasper Inc, withdraw from the matter.
The ACC investigation targeted Ganaseb, Hinanifa and a number of councillors from different political parties.
However, Kurtz confirmed that only Ganaseb and Hinanifa will be prosecuted in the embezzlement saga, at this stage.
“We concluded our investigations and handed the dockets over to the PG for decision.
“The PG decided not to charge the councillors in this case, but only Ganaseb and Hinanifa, who are expected to appear before court soon.
“The issue of the councillors will be handled only by the Ministry [of Urban and Rural Development].”
It is alleged that in 2012 Ganaseb approved a N$1 million payment supposedly for the tarring of a road, to a company linked to Hinanifa, despite the fact that no work had ever been done.
Last year, the Omaruru Municipality conducted a disciplinary hearing for Ganaseb, but there has so far been no word about the outcome of that process.
The town’s Acting CEO, Elifas Hamunyela, referred all inquiries to lawyer Shakespeare Masiza, who chaired the hearing.
“To this day, I have not received any report from the chairperson of the hearing. He never pronounced himself on the outcome of the process,” Hamunyela said.
“All that I know is that the lawyer who represented Government, Jana de Kock, submitted our report to the ministry [without Masiza’s pronouncement].”
Hamunyela stressed that Government is the only entity that can bring a final end to the saga, and that the municipality only acts on advice.
De Kock refused to comment on the outcome of the hearing, claiming that “it is still under investigation”.
Urban and Rural Development Permanent Secretary, Nghidinua Daniel, said, “The disciplinary process against the suspended CEO is in the hands of the council, so I advise that you should contact the mayor to find out where the process is now.”
Meanwhile, late last month, Ganaseb challenged an attempt by the municipality to search for his permanent replacement, claiming flaws in the process.
“We responded to that letter and the process or recruitment is ongoing. We have received applications and we are hopeful that we will find someone soon,” Hamunyela said