By: Justicia Shipena
Omuthiya residents have raised concerns after the town’s mayor, and his nephew received plots from the sale of erven.
Residents say the mayor is conflicted.
According to documents in possession of The Villager, Ndeutepo is the chairperson of Omuthiya’s land allocation and advisory committee.
The town council, this week, released the names of successful beneficiaries for sales of business, office, institution, and residential in local newspapers.
According to Omuthiya resident Moses Panduleni Amukoto, the mayor failed to adhere to the council’s code of conduct in the local authority act.
“The mayor failed to adhere to the rules of the local authority act which states one cannot use his office to gain favouritism.”
He told The Villager that the mayor showed his interest in those plots.
“The same mayor is the chairperson of the land advisory committee in Omuthiya Town Council. The committee was established last year.”
However, he added that the mayor was in the meeting discussing the allocation of those plots.
Amukoto said Ndeutepo confirmed that the other company listed as successful belongs to his family member.
“Nawa24 trading cc belongs to the mayor, and Recovma Investment CC belongs to his family member,” he said.
Thus he stressed that it is illegal and causes a conflict of interest.
“He has the right as a citizen to get a plot, but procedurally. He was not supposed to be in the meeting that decided the successful beneficiaries.
“People are giving each other plots. Somebody and their sibling are both on the list of those getting the plots. The other one is the mayor, who is in the group that approves the land allocation. Is it transparent, and is there fairness in this process?” questioned another resident.
The resident further said this is evident corruption.
An unsuccessful applicant in the same sale, speaking on condition of anonymity, called the matter “corruption.”
Speaking to The Villager on Thursday, Ndeutepo said he did not allocate land.
“This is not an allocation of land by application. It was a bid to purchase. One of my companies participated in this, including the guy that is my nephew. And in the offer to purchase, every company comes up with the offer to the council,” he said.
He added the highest bidder gets allocated the erven.
“If they suspect that the company that belongs to my nephew is not the highest bidder, then they come forward with that information, and we can investigate it,” said Ndeutepo.
He further said he was not party to the allocation decision, nor was he dedicated to the allocation.
“The people that were allocated the land had valid bids. Out of the 25 plots, only four plots were allocated,” he said.
Ndeutepo further questioned whether there are restrictions that the mayor cannot bid on the land.
“This is not the first time that I am bidding. I have been bidding even when I was not the mayor, and I lost because the price I offered was lower than the others. Are there any legal restrictions to say that a mayor cannot bid when there is an auction?” he questioned.
He further said there is no decision making in the process of bidders.
“The only decision to be made is to receive the report and process it as such.”
Thus, he stressed that it was a legal transaction and his nephew and he presented a valid bid.
“Where will council draw the power to disqualify him just because he is related to the mayor or is the mayor. They are just hyping this up for political reasons.”
He further noted that he is not aware of a bidder who had higher bids and where rejected.
“When someone bids and their price is higher than the person awarded, they have the right to ask why their bid was not considered. There is also a procedure to that, and it is transparent.”