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By: Justicia Shipena 

The Public Office Bearer’s Remuneration and Benefits Commission (POBC) said the official opposition leader McHenry Venaani’s proposed perks have financial implications and are not within what was gazetted. 

As the official opposition leader, Venaani is supposed to receive, among others, an official vehicle with a dedicated driver and office personnel.

But until now, Venaani has not received any of the perks he was supposed to receive, while the public office bearers commission said what the PDM leader wants has financial implications.

On Thursday, Venaani said he was not asking for special requests regarding perks that the government gazetted. 

“The statement of saying, I have demanded something it’s a lie. I have not demanded. I have it on record that justice Petrus Tileinge Damaseb through the POBC, approved recommendations in 2017,” said Venaani.

According to him, they have been going back and forth on this matter for the last four years and has not requested anything special. 

Venaani also said he was asked which one would he prefer between an off-road vehicle and an E200 Mercedes Benz. 

“All I said was I would prefer an off-roader due to my work being in the field mostly. I did not prefer an expensive off-roader or a new off-road car.”

“By law, I’m required to get a new car, but I agreed for them to get a second-hand vehicle,” he expressed.  

He added that he only demanded that he cannot drive a vehicle written ‘GRN’ because he is not a government representative. 

“I am a leader of the opposition party, so my security is a concern, and my drivers cannot be people that come from government because I’m not a representative from government.” 

Venaani questioned about what he requested differently. 

“I did not request a land cruiser or a new car, and I said I’m ready to work with second-hand vehicles,” he stressed. 

Touching on the issue of car servicing, he said he couldn’t take his car to be serviced at a government garage.   

“So, I opted to choose my own service provider. What if they leave some of the stuff loose, and then I get involved in an accident?” he questioned.  

“So, for the POBC to say that Venaani has demanded things not part of the mandate is not true.” 

Venaani adds that justice Sylvester Mainga is thus either misinformed and said that if the office does not want to implement the recommendations, they must say so.  

“They can go with everything. I don’t have a problem. I will still be working as an effective opposition leader that this country has ever since. Nobody has ever done what I’m doing as opposition leader since 1990,” he said. 

He further said that if they realised he needed security, they should have identified what type of security. 

 “You can’t tell me the government’s security officers must protect me. You are in your car, talking about how to become a stronger government to take over, and these people are just listening for your competitor. I must bring people that I trust,” said the opposition leader. 

Speaking to The Villager, Venaani said the only perk he received is a personal assistant for the last four years since approval.

“No budget, no security, no driver, and I’m using my car in everything you see me like the green scheme.” 

According to him, the POBC is trying to cover up their inability to implement a discussion. 

“They are covering up because of their ineffective to implement. In fact, they must be ashamed that they have made a recommendation that is not implemented,” he said. 

He stated that those who were appointed last year have all their benefits.

“However, the official opposition leader who is their political adversary is sitting with a recommendation of fours years without being implemented.”

He added that this is because the POBC is undermining his office and that they have recommended something they don’t want.

Furthermore, he said he disagrees with justice Mainga’s facts. 

According to the chairperson of POBC Mainga, the reports on Venaani’s outcry on the delay in establishing the opposition office creates an impression that the POBC and the presidency are constraining the implementation of the approved decision.

The statement states that upon the recommendation by proclamation 12 of 8 March 2021 published in the government gazette, a state office is made available to the official opposition leader at the premises of the National Assembly.

“A personal or administrative assistant of the leader of the official opposition’s own choice. A motor vehicle should be allocated to the official opposition leader in terms of the regulations relating to transport benefits for public office bearers.”

It also states that the leader is entitled to security aid and a driver. 

Mainga said that Venaani’s insinuation that the POBC and the presidency have failed him is misplaced and devoid of any truth. 

“The POBC does not budget for the office of the leader of the opposition, neither does it allocate vehicles nor provide security,” he said. 

He added that Venaani should direct his grievances elsewhere, either the National Assembly or the ministry of works and transport. 

 “The POBC can only enquire from the said institutions as to the status of the services to be rendered but cannot force the said institutions to render the services.”

He said the official opposition leader is entitled to the use of only one official vehicle. 

“He or she shall exercise choice, between a Sedan and Off-road motor vehicle,” he said. 

According to information, the official opposition leader is allocated a GRN 231, E200 Mercedes Benz.

“In case the official opposition leader may wish to choose an Off-road 4×4 Motor Vehicle, then the advice is that the leader should indicate in writing.”

Moreover, on 24 September 2021, Venaani wrote to the POBC secretariat opting for an off-road vehicle with certain specifications to the vehicle Mainga said. 

“The POBC secretariat on 4 October 2021 relayed Venaani’s specifications to the transport ministry,” he said.

Thus Mainga said that the ministry of works and transport, as an implementing agency, can only be able to implement the benefits as per the POBC gazette.

“Given the response from the ministry, on 6 December 2021, POBC wrote to Venaani, stating, ‘given the peculiar and special request articulated in your letter the POBC advises that you should take it up directly with His Excellency the President.”

He further stated that Venaani’s specifications have financial implications.

 “Venaani’s airing of his grievances with the media, on unfounded allegations, we at POBC find regrettable, but we accept that the criticism goes with the territory,” he stressed. 

Mainga expressed that for Venaai to blame the POBC for the delay does not sit well with them.



Justicia Shipena

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