Bukalo CEO hits back at Swapo’s Matomola

By Maria Kandjungu

BUKALO Village Council has opened a case of theft and corruption against Swapo councillor Louis Matomola for allegedly stealing six bags of cement valued at roughly N$600 that were meant for a Build Together project.

Confidente understands that an audit by the Urban and Rural Development Ministry that looked at how the N$2.3 million earmarked for the Build Together project was utilized unearthed several irregularities and misappropriation of funds, including the theft of various items by council members and staff employed for the project.

In a letter to Matomola, dated 3 January 2020, copied to the line minister, the Anti-Corruption Commission in Otjiwarongo and other council members, CEO Martin Limbo requested an explanation as to how Matomola collected or received six bags of cement meant for the Build Together programme.

According to the letter, it was established through the security guard who guarded the premises where the cement bags were kept, that on 7 December 2018, Matomola together with three builders collected bags of cement from the premises after official hours.

“It is yet surprising in your case, due to the fact that you were a council member at the time and though you still are to this date, and not a contractor or hired builder, and thus was not clear how you ended up collecting six bags of cement, which were only [for] the builders who at the time were hired to complete the Build Together houses and not any other beneficiary,” it reads.

“It is also noted that you never informed council officials in writing or the acting CEO then as to why you collected six bags of cement when you were not a builder yourself, and for that reason if any why such six bags were given to you, which were clearly government property,”

The CEO gave the councillor until 8 January to provide the requested explanation, noting that it will be crucial in preparing a final report to the Urban and Rural Development Ministry, detailing how the N$2.3 million that was earmarked for Build Together was utilized.

That same day Matomola, who is the founding chairperson of the village council and who also serves as the principal of Nsundano Junior Secondary School, was sent another letter by the CEO requesting an explanation on compensated mud house at the teachers’ compound that he is allegedly renting out for personal profit.

Sources in the area told Confidente that the school principal, who was given a brick house by the Ministry of Education in 2014, has moved out of the mud structure and has been renting it out.

Documents seen by Confidente show that in September 2018, Matomola (who was not living in the mud house in the teachers’ compound at the time) was paid an amount of N$28 655.22 in compensation, as plans for the development of the small town covered the teachers’ compound.

However, despite collecting the said amount, the councillor is said to have continued to rent out the place, pocketing about N$13 500 from rentals on top of the compensation paid out.

The CEO has therefore requested yet another explanation detailing why Matomola continued to rent out the mud house for personal gain when he was compensated for it.

“You should also explain in a similar vein why you had not alerted Council to the fact that the property stated above was being rented by tenants who have been paying rental amounts to you without seeking council or ministerial approval, when you knew or ought to know that in doing so you were in serious violation of your oath undertaking,” the letter stated.

“Our preliminary investigations also have proven with available evidence that the structure [is] still being rented by now third tenant, who had been in the house since 2019 or earlier, and he too is paying a monthly rental to you and or your family…”

The CEO said: “Such actions if committed by a member of council are serious and tantamount to corruption, nepotism, maladministration and a grievous violation of an oath undertaken by such member,” the letter notes further.

Limbo declined to comment when asked for further clarification, saying the issues are under investigation.

Efforts to get comment from Matomola proved futile. Initially he had asked this journalist to call him after lunch as he was still at school however upon calling him again, his mobile was unreachable.