The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is investigating alleged irregularities at the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) following the purchase of a former Katutura bar for a total of N$20 million, the Windhoek Observer has been told.
ACC Director Paulus Noa said investigators from his office have already been sent to collect statements ‘pertaining to the allegation’ on the BIPA property deal.
“Yes we are investigating the BIPA allegations. What we are doing right now is that we are busy collecting statements pertaining to all those allegations written in the media,”Noa said.
The Windhoek Observer recently reported how Trade, Industrialisation and SME Development Permanent Secretary, Gabriel Sinimbo, BIPA CEO, Tileinge Andima and Offshore Development Company Acting CEO, Phillip Namundjebo, cooperated in buying a rundown former bar in Katutura for N$18 million without board or ministerial approval in July this year.
A further N$2 million was then spent on renovating the property, which previously operated as a bar popularly known as Vaganza.
Evaluators said the property, previously owned by Windhoek couple, Hilma and Martin Shilengundwa, is not worth more than N$4 million.
The couple’s daughter, Anne Shilengundwa, a partner at the law firm, Ellis-Shilengundwa Incorporated, handled the N$18 million transaction, before resigning from her firm to pursue other business interests.
Noa, who has previously been accused of a lackadaisical approach to fighting corruption in the country, told the Windhoek Observer that the ACC will not back down on the BIPA case until they ascertain what really transpired with the deal.
“We have already obtained some good information that is promising. The public blames the ACC for all the wrong reasons when it comes to these things, but ministers who are principal heads of their ministries do not pick these things up nor do they subject their own administrators to disciplinary actions. That is why millions get depleted by insiders,” Noa explained.
The ACC’s investigation follows an outcry by Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein, who wants the deal reversed.
Not only are those involved in the deal said to have violated the Public Procurement Act, but apparently they also bypassed the Minister of Trade, Industrialisation and SME Development, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, who was never consulted on the transaction.
Ngatjizeko told the Windhoek Observer in a recent interview that he feels ‘disrespected by Sinimbo who did not consult him before the decision to purchase the property was made.
“The money spent on that building is way too much. I feel disrespected. What is the issue of ignoring me to be a part of this process? Just to consult me does not even have to be about respect, it is an obligation towards any leader,”Ngatjizeko said.
The property was registered into BIPA’s name on 30 August.