Okahandja councilors milk town

20 July 2018 Author   Kaula Nhongo

Okahandja Municipality councilors are being accused of using their positions to enrich themselves by awarding tenders to companies in which they have interests. Okahandja Municipality councilors are being accused of using their positions to enrich themselves by awarding tenders to companies in which they have interests. 

Sources close to the Okahandja Municipality alleged that the councilors awarded cleaning tenders to companies that they have close links to.
It is also alleged that some of the eight companies that have been contracted by the council are in fact briefcase companies that are not registered and are using fake VAT numbers as well as registration numbers belonging to other companies.
According to sources, the Okahandja Municipality has spent about N$3.6 million since last year on the eight cleaning companies that belong to families and friends of the current councilors.
The Windhoek Observer is in possession of documents which show that seven councilors have links to the cleaning companies that were awarded tenders last year without following proper procurement procedures.
Mayor Congo Hindjou is alleged to be connected to Ketu Kahala Trading Enterprises while councilor Helmi Maruru is alleged to be linked to two companies L. K Trading and P Ndove Trading.
Councilor Edward Metirapi is allegedly linked to Liberty Zone CC while Olinga Investment is linked to Councillor Gideon Uwu-Khaeb and Hameva Investment CC is linked to a certain Tjaveondja.
Councilor Fredrick Shimanda is alleged to be linked to Heigomab Trading Enterprises CC.
According to media reports, Maruru was previously accused of allegedly accepting a facilitation fee for allocation of plots.
In an interview with the Windhoek Observer, Maruru could neither deny nor admit the allegations.
She also refused to comment on the issue of whether she is connected to two of the cleaning companies contracted by the town.
“I wouldn’t want to comment, go and do your research. Even if I say anything, it will be twisted anyway,” Maruru said. 
The owner of Ndove Trading, who refused to give out his name, said he is a neighbour of Maruru, but denied having any business links with her. 
“I have stayed next door to her for four years, but we are not linked at all,” he said.
The owner of Hameva Investment, Sigfrid Hameva, also denied having links to Tjaveondja.
A well-placed source within the municipality, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the municipality decided to contract the companies to help clean the town after the health department responsible complained that it was not copying with the workload.
According to the source, the council was only supposed to outsource three cleaning companies for three months from February 2017 until April 2017, but council extended the contracts for nine more months without notifying the Chief Executive Officer of the municipality, Martha Mutilifa.
According to sources, the contracts expired again this year in February, but they have since been renewed again.
“The councilors are just doing whatever they want. They are paying out a lot of money to these cleaning companies, money that could have been used for something important,” the source said.
The Windhoek Observer has it on good authority that the cleaning companies have been working without contracts since February this year.
According to Hameva, the companies were just told to continue working until they are told otherwise.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of the municipality, George Mwazi, refused to comment and referred this reporter to Hindjou. 
Hindjou rubbished the allegations as “crap”.
“I do not have time to comment about those crap stories. I have important matters to deal with like mourning one of the great men of this country,” the mayor said.
Concerned SWAPO members in the town have since written a letter to the party Secretary General, Sophia Shaningwa, complaining that the councillors’ actions, saying that they are causing disunity among party members.
They appealed to Shaningwa to intervene and carry out investigations as a matter of urgency.
The Okahandja community has for years been complaining about the situation in the town which includes corruption on the sale of land as well as mismanagement by the municipality.
To date, no action has been taken by the relevant authorities despite investigations carried out. 
Both Shaningwa and the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga, were not available for comment by the time of going to print.

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