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By Kelvin Chiringa

A 2019 audit report for the Keetmanshoop Municipality has disclosed that the Build Together Project is in shambles because of poor control systems. The Build Together Detailed Housing Capital Report from the period amounted to N$2 817 745, while the amount in the General Ledger amounted to N$4 468 545 resulting in a misstatement of N$1 650 800.

According to the audit, loans were granted without any agreements and some applicants listed on the waiting list were never captured on the finance system. The auditors also unearthed that loans were captured on the Munsoft system by a debtor’s clerk without any supervisor checking. This resulted in incomplete and inaccurate loan information.

Loan applications were not verified to confirm whether the information provided was complete and accurate. On top of this, loan files containing original loan application forms and title deeds were kept in the manual application files.

“Ineffective controls over custody of these files are exercised,” said the auditors. The inadequate internal controls over the build together loans have the potential to “impact” the rollout of the build together program to future potential recipients,” according to the auditors.

Another revelation at the Keetmanshoop municipality is that the budget set prior to 2019 was not monitored and measured against actual performance.

No strategies were documented to achieve the budgeted targets and the auditors have cautioned that the non-monitoring of the budget may result in the overspending of the council’s monies.

The man who has been blamed for the mess so far is the municipality’s chief executive officer, Desmond Basson. LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi told the media that ‘there is an issue of N$8 million from Build

Together houses programme that is not accounted for’. “And it’s not just that CEO, it’s one or two other administrators that are involved in this matter. Our stance is that corruption must be dealt with, whoever it is. And we will be engaging during this weekend, precisely about some of those matters and heads have to roll,” he is quoted as saying. But Basson, who is now back at work after being put on administrative leave to allow for in-depth investigations has denied any wrongdoing.

He has won the support of the Namibian Association of Local Authority Officials (NALAO).

Kelvin Chiringa

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