By: Staff Writer
Anger and outrage have rocked a lavish trip to Jamaica by City of Windhoek councillors after Management Committee Chairperson, Ndeshihafela Larandja, refused to go and gave back N$93 608, which she had pocketed for personal use.
However, ex-mayor and activist Job Amupanda is said to have proceeded with the trip along with a delegation, driving speculation that he also is flying there with a fat S&T cheque.
The Villager has managed to get hold of a bank document with transaction information showing that Larandja deposited back the amount into a City of Windhoek account at FNB with reference number 20220813-48028060.
The chairperson confirmed this but said she cut off the trip because of ill health and thus refused to keep it as a “soft loan”.
“Yes, N$93 600 and whatever, yes, I did, I returned, it’s true. I had to. I had to take the decision due to my health condition that could not allow me to travel. Therefore I could not take it as a soft loan. I had to return it as is,” she said.
Pressed on whether the trip was necessary to warrant such a hefty amount of money for personal use, she said, “that is dependent on the relevance of the trip, on what is to be discussed during the trip. The purpose of the trip will determine the relevance of that.”
Larandja said the City had a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Jamaica, and as such, the trip is to cement the relationship crafted between both parties.
In the meantime, councillor Jurgen Hecht recently disclosed that the City was presently using a N$ 200 million overdraft facility to sustain its day-to-day operations.
This has brought to question whether the Jamaican trip’s cost was warranted.
Hecht described the N$ 200 million overdraft facility as presently the CoW’s absolute lifeline.
“The 2020 audit report by the Auditor General states that “there is a material uncertainty on the commercial insolvency of CoW in the foreseeable future, as at 30 June 2020, CoW’s current liabilities of N$ 2.3 billion exceed its current assets of N$ 1,64 billion by N$ 1,259 billion.”
“Thus, there is commercial insolvency risk on the ability of COW to settle its creditors in the normal course of business. As of 30 June 2020, there was thus a shortage of N$ 1,259 billion to cover the City’s immediate expenditure; in view of the 2021 draft financials, this shortage will be N$1,1 bn for the financial year 2021,” Hecht said.
However, Affirmative Repositioning activist, Paulus Kathanga, has blasted the City delegation for opting to carry on with the journey at the back of a municipality reeling under the burden of a N$3.2 cumulative debt.
He also said there are allegations that Amupanda was being rewarded by mayor Sade Gawanas for not rebuking her after she allegedly splurged on a Germany and Gross Barman trip a few months ago.
“I remember it was on 7 June or July, I wrote a communication to Mr Job on our HOD platform questioning him about the trip to Jamaica. There were allegations that Mr Job was trying to cover up some corrupt activities involving the travelling activities of the current mayor of the City to Germany and Gross Barmen at the expense of taxpayers’ money.”
“This was in exchange for her to give up the mayoral trip to Jamaica somewhere in mid-2022. I remember very well questioning Job about that issue. And he denied this, and this is on record. Let me make this very clear; there are people saying that we are fighting Job. We are just trying to question Dr Job on allegations that have been levelled against him,” he said.
In the meantime, The Villager managed to get a copy of Pau’s WhatsApp communication with Job.
It reads, “Is it true that you are covering up corrupt activities at CoW involving travelling activities of the current Mayor of CoW to Germany and Gross Barmen at the expense of taxpayers money, in exchange for you to take up the Mayor’s Trip to Jamaica somewhere mid-2022…? ”
“Job, what is your take on the allegations that you have struck a deal with the LPM leader to be defending LPM and, in particular, the LPM Mayor at the CoW, in exchange for them withdrawing the Disciplinary complaint laid against you at Unam…? Please note that this is an official platform, and I will not tolerate your silence, just to wake up the next morning and read issues involving the movement in the newspapers.”
In the meantime, the mayor’s phone was unreachable for this article as well as that of Amupanda.