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WALVIS BAY RELEASES ABRIDGED AUDIT REPORT

By: Andrew Kathindi

The Walvis Bay Municipality has recommended that an external human resource specialist should be appointed to conduct further investigations following the submission of a PricewaterhouseCoopers audit report.

The audit report, which came with a number of recommendations for the coastal town, was the conclusion of an investigation into alleged missing millions connected to the Mass Urban Land Servicing Project.

It has further emerged that it was at the municipality’s extraordinary council meeting, held on 25 July to discuss the findings and recommendations of the audit report, where the council further resolved that the suspension of all the officials who had been suspended since December 2020, be lifted with effect from 1 September.

Walvis Bay chief executive officer Muronga Haingura, the general manager for community affairs Agostinho Victor, the manager for properties and housing, and property clerk, Jack Manale have since returned to work.

According to an abridged version of the PWC audit report which the Walvis Bay municipality has released, the audit firm has recommended that the municipality identify whether there are any instances of unauthorised exercise of authority or potential misconduct by staff, with regards to their involvement in the Mass Housing Project Based.

“Due to the issues identified with respect to payments made to Contractors for 140 properties, which relates to a net overpayment of building construction costs it (PWC report) suggested that a thorough understanding is obtained on the processes followed for the identification, selection and appointment of these Contractors and

the basis on which properties were allocated, for the construction of buildings, between the various Contractors, and subsequent payments made.”

The audit firm also recommended that the coastal town perform additional procedures, to establish whether the 26 houses for which construction could not be verified had been certified by the municipality and that subsequent payments made to Contractors were in line with the associated actual cost.

Activist and former Walvis Bay Urban Regional Councillor Knowledge Ipinge was however critical of the form in which the audit report was released, stating that he has given the local authority 24 hours to release the full report of he will take legal action.

“This is actually a mockery of the residents of Walvis Bay. The councillors have taken a position to handpick information that they are sharing with the residents. The report in question is a 200-page report. There is more to that document than what is shared with us,” he told The Villager.

He further warned, “I have sent an email to the acting CEO and the Mayor as we speak. I requested that they release the report official within 24 hours. Failure to do that, our next action will be court action and mobilize the residents of Walvis Bay to stand up and protest. As a resident of Walvis Bay, I have the right to official documents of the municipality. They are accountable to us.”

Julia Heita

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