ACC goes after Okahandja authorities

By Hilary Mare and Tracy Tafirenyika

DIRECTOR General of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Paulus Noa has exclusively told Confidente that the anti-corruption body will institute summons against the Municipality of Okahandja authorities to explain allegations of how at least 3 200 residential and commercial properties were sold illegally during a land sale moratorium between 2014 and 2020.

Documents seen by Confidente show that last month, and in response to tip-offs from whistleblowers, the ACC demanded answers from Okahandja CEO Martha Mutilifa by October 1. In the demands, ACC requested the municipality to urgently provide certified copies of council resolutions and minutes relating to how the over 3 000 properties were disposed by the municipality as well as certified copies of deeds of sale.

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The municipality offered no response to these demands prompting an elevated response from the corruption watchdog.

“They have failed to respond to our letter demanding answers and now that they have failed to take us seriously we are going to serve them with summons to compel them to respond and explain. There will not be any grace period after they ignored our letter.

“What you must tell them is that we work according to the law and people must respect the law. We use laws passed in parliament and when you are asked to respond you must do so without fail. Now we will demonstrate to other institutions that we serve the law. We will give them a date and time to come and answer,” Noa told Confidente.

In a communiqué to Mutilifa by Noa and copied to Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni, Noa highlights 15 plots in Extension 9, 20 plots in Five Rand, nine in Veddersdal, five in Extension 4, four in Extension 6, 10 in Nau-Aib, two in Okahandja, 11 in Extension 11, an erf in Ekunde Extension 1 and 2 each as well as six other plots in the town as key in the investigation.

“In addition, it is alleged that there are also irregularities of sale of erven totalling 3 127 for residential and business at Ekunde extension 1 and 2, Veddersdal and Five Rand location,” Noa told Mutilifa.

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Apart from this, Noa pointed to the alleged sale of the following parcels of land:  Land situated at the corner of Kataazu Street in Okahandja town next to the railway; unserviced land at Conradie Street opposite erf 330 in town;  erf 3076, Duatry North Street; a plot next to Okahandja Shell Service Station where it is alleged that there is a construction of multiple flats (Bridge Park); and a plot at Ekunde extension 1 to a Chinese company, Right Path Investments (Pty) Ltd.

There is also alleged illegal occupation of an unserviced piece of land adjacent to erf 278 and erf 282 at Veddersdal suburb where houses are built and alleged illegal fenced riverbed between erf 23 and erf 25 Oshetu number 1 by a staff member of the municipality of Okahandja.

“The ACC would like to know as to how erven at Ekunde extension 1,2,3 and 5 were disposed by the municipality of Okahandja and further provide information that may assist ACC in the investigation of the above allegations,” further quizzed Noa.

Okahandja CEO Mutilifa said that she was on leave and could not answer questions fielded to her by Confidente and rather directed the queries around the alleged illegal land deals to the acting CEO.

“I am not at work and next week I will also not be back. Please just contact the acting CEO, he will give you those responses,” she said.

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Acting CEO, Maresela Nunda threw the ball back to Mutilifa saying that he only learnt about issues around land deals in the press and was not aware of any letter from the ACC.

“She (Mutilifa) would be better positioned to respond because she did not share the letter with me,” he told Confidente.

This week, The Namibian also reported that ACC may also investigate Mutilifa for allegedly selling undeveloped municipal land measuring approximately 42 870 square metres to a certain Gerhard Iyakune Katau for N$90 000 in 2019.

The land in question was divided into more than 10 plots of between 1 100 and 8 000 square metres each.

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Mutilifa allegedly signed the alleged transaction on her own without consulting the council as required by law.

Mutilifa was suspended by the previous Okahandja Municipal Council earlier this year over allegations of illegal land deals.

That council was booted out in March by former urban minister Peya Mushelenga after it was adjudged to have mismanaged its role, defied ministerial directives and failed to submit council minutes.