Shady dealings in Omusati

14 August 2015 Author  

front 14  AugustThe newly-appointed Governor of the Omusati Region Erkki Endjala has landed himself a hot potato only a few months after taking over office.

 

He recently received requests to launch an urgent investigation into the region’s education directorate, following reports of gross negligence in various budgets.

Whistleblowers wrote a letter to Endjala on 17 July 2015 detailing a number of offences on a Namibia National Teachers Union (NANTU) letterhead.

The signatories to the letter identified themselves as “concerned members” of the Omusati Education Directorate.

The letter accused the Omusati Chief Regional Officer Protassius Andowa of not taking any action after he received similar reports in 2014.

Andowa allegedly received numerous reports both verbally and in writing of gross negligence and mismanagement.

“The departure of the former director of the Omusati Education Directorate, now deputy minister, seems to have inspired some individuals in top management of the directorate to misuse funds and embezzle money for themselves without taking the education of the Namibian child at heart.

“We are very much puzzled, suffering in silence and much more inundated with countless issues regarding ill treatment, greediness and perceptible enrichment particularly by certain individuals acting in the office of the regional director,” the letter reads.

According to the letter, certain officials transferred N$12 million in the 2014/2015 budget from the Education Directorate Development Account to the Operational Account.

The concerned members said the transfer of funds took place without the approval of the Education, Arts and Culture Directorate Management Committee.

Only the acting director, the senior accountant and the Omusati region chief regional officer allegedly approved the transfer.

“In the current 2015/16 financial year, after the national budget was approved and released, 33 percent of total budget was transferred from the head office to the regional accounts of the education directorate around May and June 2015.

“However, as of now there is nothing (no money) in the Education Directorate’s Operational Account as members of the directorate in the finance division alleged.

“It is alleged that only N$6 million was transferred in the current financial year from the Operational Account to the Development Account, although the majority of the management committee members at the directorate were not informed or invited to discuss this option.

“The directorate’s budget has been over spent since the former director left the region.

“This means there is no proper control within the education directorate and therefore this situation influences people at the helm of the directorate to abuse the budgets,” the letter reads.

Yet another concern raised was the ad hoc approval of submissions where they claimed the acting director of education abused the directorate’s budgets.

According to the letter, members of the directorate reported several concerns regarding officials not having discussed approval of submissions during the Regional Economising Committee (REC) meetings.

 “It has been reported that more submissions are currently being approved on an ad hoc basis by the acting director of education without going through the REC.

“This means submissions and requisitions are illegally approved, processed and enormous amount of money is committed whether there are no funds available on certain votes, thus not reflecting the minutes of the Economising Committee,” the letter charges.

The third complaint raised was the absence of a commitment register at the finance office, which normally showed how much money was still available, how much had been spent or whether the directorate had under/over spent.

“We therefore strongly request that a forensic investigation into the education directorate affairs be launched, and quite importantly, the education directorate’s budgets and commitment register need to be urgently and seriously audited by an independent auditor.”

The education directorate in the Omusati Region received a budget allocation of N$29.5 million for the 2014/2015 financial year.

During a telephonic interview on Wednesday, Endjala confirmed having received the letter some weeks back.

“We are busy investigating internally first to verify some of the allegations before we approach the minister,” Endjala said.

Education Arts and Culture Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said in an interview on Thursday that she was not aware of the letter, or some of the issues raised about the education directorate in the Omusati Region.

However, when presented with the contents of the letter the minister said she could not rule out a forensic audit.

“There is a clear need to provide proper training for internal auditors at regional level, especially with the decentralisation of capital projects.

“We have to empower those at regional level to be a part of the process and take decisions that will affect them directly, but we also have to ensure that they take those decisions with integrity,” she said.

Hanse-Himarwa stressed that her ministry was putting control measures in place to evaluate the progress and readiness of all regions to take on more responsibility with regards to money.

 

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