WALVIS BAY – The infamous findings contained in an audit report by accounting firm PwC Namibia of an alleged N$24 million has caused a rift among councilors at Walvis Bay Municipality.
At the monthly council meeting held Wednesday morning, some councilors questioned the secrecy surrounding the report, saying they were under continued public scrutiny because of the report that was never made.
PwC said New era in an exclusive interview last year that they are obligated to keep Walvis Bay Municipality’s forensic report confidential, and that it cannot be disclosed to any third party.
The company also said the board can only disclose it to one party in the process, but that party must sign a binding document to keep the report confidential. The furious advisers now accuse each other of sleeping on the report to protect their allies in the administration, instead of taking action because two other managers are implicated by the report.
Last year, the Council paid N$600,000 for the audit report after allegations of irregularities in the massive urban land servicing project surfaced. These allegations resulted in the suspension of three city executives, but they have since returned to work.
Swapo’s adviser, Albertina Nkoshi, told the meeting that advisers were divided because of this and that they were constantly criticized by the public over the audit.
She raised crucial questions about the report and its recommendations two weeks ago to see if any investigations were carried out after the PwC report was received.
Nkoshi further questioned the procurement process used to recruit the auditing firm. She also took issue with how a law firm was appointed to review the audit report.
“To date, it has been six weeks without any return from legal services. These questions don’t even have an answer yet, but the media knows better and knew the issues before the advisers. How is it possible that some advisors know what is going on and others are left in the dark? It shows how divided we are,” she charged.
“No action at this time”
Swapo adviser Ephraim Shozi also said the secrecy surrounding the report was not supported by all advisers. “We are dealing with public funds, and the report was paid for with public funds. Therefore, the community wants to know what happened to the N$24 million. They need answers, so let’s share the report,” he added. According to Shozi, some advisers have made the mistake of befriending certain government officials, and are now forced to protect them.
“The mistake we made is to befriend the administration, instead of serving and protecting our community. We protect those who are supposed to work for the people,” he said.
He also said New era yesterday that the report implicates two senior officials of the municipality. However, no action has been taken since the presentation of the report’s findings.
Chairman of the management board, Richard Hoaeb, said yesterday New era that the board has engaged a workforce firm to guide them on the next steps in regards to the recommendations and the appropriate actions that will be taken. Meanwhile, Walvis Bay Mayor Trevino Forbes told the council meeting that Nkoshi’s questions will be answered at the next council meeting.
The Mass Urban Land Servicing Project case dates back to 2018 and was reported over an alleged lack of transparency in the allocation and sale of homes under the scheme.
Around 980 houses were built under the program between 2015 and 2019, whereby the municipality provided land to 42 contractors for house construction, which is now part of the unaccounted for N$24 million. – [email protected]