With the spate of officials falling under ‘investigations’ or being charged to investigate others in Government, the glaring hypocrisy is the bureaucratically incestuous relationships between those doing the questioning and those answering them.
We note the piles of accusations hurled at the embattled Permanent Secretary of Works and Transport, Willem Goeiemann, who has until this Friday, to name his own poison and say why his authority to handle Government funds should not be limited.
He is under fire for his role in signing off the N$7 billion Hosea Kutako International Airport contract, which was found to be unlawful by the Supreme Court this year.
Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein, informed Goeiemann in a letter dated 28 August 2017 that he will be held accountable for the unlawful airport contract.
The Supreme Court found that Goeiemann’s award of the airport upgrade contract to Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group in 2015 was unlawful, because neither he nor his ministry had the power to award such a contract. The court also found that tender rules had been ignored.
And yet, that airport contract was originally negotiated and signed under the auspices of the then Prime Minister, Hage Geingob. PS’s don’t just sign for N$7 billion on their own steam; they are always instructed to take such action. Apparently, Goeiemann is the whipping boy.
Finance Permanent Secretary, Ericah Shafudah, was called on the carpet for her lack of attention to the fuel storage facility deal that has escalated in cost from N$3.2 billion in 2015 to nearly N$5.5 billion now. She defended her actions and fired back at the Secretary to Cabinet, George Simataa, who called her incompetent in protecting the State’s interest in the matter.
The current finance minister and prime minister were both involved in the fuel storage facility process at various stages and yet, Shafudah is the fall guy. She received a final warning for her ‘wrong-doing’ in that case.
Prime Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, was the finance minister when the fuel storage facility contract was awarded, but she is consistent in sloughing-off any culpability in the entire matter (and is successful in doing so).
And Schlettwein, seeking Goeiemann’s head for the N$7 billion airport scandal, has been deputy minister and minister of that very same finance ministry involved in the fuel depot scandal.
If all of that tit-for-tat is not enough, the very same George Simaata, who is calling Shafudah incompetent, has questions to answer in regards to the loss of nearly N$200 million at the SME Bank (he was the chairman of the now-dismissed board of directors) and the loss of over 300 jobs. The president let him off the hook for this financial scandal as the fired workers scramble to make ends meet while being unemployed in a recession-hit economy.
Then we have the Attorney General, Sackeus Shanghala, who is allowed to ignore the rules and spend N$48 million in State funds for lawyers working overseas on the genocide issue merely on his own word, with no budget allocation, Cabinet approval or oversight.
Those on other Government committees working on the genocide issue were not informed of the AG’s expenditure and the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation responsible for paying the invoices was also not consulted.
And yet, after huffing and puffing, the minister of finance, who is chasing Goeiemann for alleged malfeasance, sent the funds to pay the UK lawyers as if non-budgetary spending of tens of millions is ok.
Now that same AG, who should be sanctioned for personally-approved spending of State funds, is told to investigate his buddy and business partner, NPC Permanent Secretary and Chairman of the Cabinet Technical Committee that approved the fuel storage facility boondoggle, Leevi Hungamo.
Shangala’s chief legal adviser, Chris Nghaamwa, has been ‘cleared’ of any responsibility for the fuel storage facility debacle that he was involved in negotiating. That leaves Hungamo, BFF of the AG to be investigated by that very same N$48 million AG.
Who is watching the watchers? This is a convoluted tale of people gung-ho to sanction others when they are on the radar for prosecution or investigation by others, for things that they have done that are against the rules. It is a mess.
Why is anyone surprised that the ACC under Paulus Noa declines to take action on anyone in the middle of this muddle and the Ombudsman’s office is mute? It seems that everyone has tainted hands (or at least fingers) here; the accusers and the accused.
Why must Goeiemann answer to Schlettwein about that particular airport contract that he did not negotiate? Let those who negotiated the original deal and agreed to the terms write letters to Schlettwein.
Where is the demand for others in Government who received or spent monies without full disclosure to do so? Where is the AG’s letter about the N$48 million, or Simataa’s letter about the N$200 million, or Pohamba Shifeta’s letter about the lost N$24 million Kora Awards money?
In our view, there is little objectivity in investigating any of these cases when those asking the questions have unclean hands and shrouded motivations. When considering these ‘investigations’, we have the image of Government as a puppy chasing its tail around and around, but getting nowhere.
It seems as if our Government lacks the moral authority to institute investigations against anyone. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.