Ex-Katima CEO probed over tender awards

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

THE Ministry of Urban and Rural Development wants Katima Mulilo’s former chief executive officer, Charles Nawa Nawa, to be held liable for various incidents of financial and administrative mismanagement that happened on his watch.

In a 66-page report, the ministry said the suspected malpractices include the awarding of million dollar tenders to a number of companies between 2013 and 2016. The contracts included the drilling of boreholes, construction of town council offices, water reticulation infrastructure and a fire station.

According to the damning report, dated August 2017, some of the projects were completed after the completion date set for them by the council had lapsed but were allowed to claim penalty fees from the town council without the approval of the council.

In September 2015 the line ministry appointed Windhoek Consulting Engineers on the recommendation of the town council as a consultant for a borehole drilling project, which was estimated to be worth N$2.8 million. However, the town council had allegedly appointed Eco Construction and Development CC for an amount of N$3.2 million, which was N$1 million more than the projected cost.

The payment of the additional N$1 million was allegedly done without the approval of the council. The ministry also alleged that the tender was not advertised before it was awarded to Eco Construction.

“The council and the former chief executive officer, Mr. C. Nawa Nawa must be held accountable for not advertised the tender for drilling boreholes. The council and the former chairperson of the local tender board must be held accountable for exceeding the budgeted amount by N$1 091 391.03 for the construction of the boreholes for 2015/16 financial year,” the ministry instructed.

In addition, the town council awarded a tender to construct a water reticulation network in Choto and Cowboy location to a company called Vincent and Tiffany Construction CC for a tender price of N$3.2 million, but the material used did not comply with the standards of SABS, the South African Bureau of Standards.

The ministry said the budgeted amount for the tender was N$8.4 million but that was reduced to N$3.2 million to favour Vincent and Tiffany Construction. The tender was allegedly given to them because the company had previously worked for the town council and installed a large number of water meters and pipelines. One of the apparent reasons for award the contract was that the company had already bought the materials required and the materials were already onsite.

“The local tender board and the former chairperson of the local tender board, Mr. C. Nawa Nawa must be held accountable for appointing a contractor who purchased construction materials in advance, which were not SABS compliant as per the tender advertisement.

“The council and the former chairperson of the local tender board, Mr. C. Nawa Nawa must be held accountable for awarding a tender for water reticulation in Choto and Cowboy to Vincent and Tiffany Construction CC after adjustments of bid amounts in line with project budget.

“Council and former chairperson of the local tender board Mr. C. Nawa Nawa must be held accountable for unauthorized expenditure of N$3 065 330.99,” the report states.

The installation of the water meters at Choto and Cowboy locations is another thorny issue. N$5 million was budgeted for the installation of the water meters, inclusive of VAT and professional fees. On 30 September 2014, the council recommended Chisozu Investment CC, who tendered for N$5.7 million to be appointed as the contractor.

However, on 2 October that same year, the council appointed Vincent and Tiffany Construction CC for a tender price of N$6.3 million for installation of the water meters for Choto and Cowboy, contrary to the recommendation of the consultant.

“The awarding of the tender of installation of water meter in Choto and Cowboy to Vincent and Tiffany Construction CC at tender price of N$6.3 million was relatively high … [compared to] the project cost estimate of N$5 million by the consultant,” the ministry found.

The document also revealed that on 9 May 2014, the municipal tender board appointed Zen Real Estates CC to construct a fire station for the town council for the amount of N$3.5 million. However, the council ended up paying additional N$214 000 in penalty fees for late completion of the project.

The project was supposed to be completed on 2 December 2014 but was only completed on 2 February 2015. It is alleged that although the project was extended to 2 February 2015, no extension was approved by the council’s procurement board.

The project was allegedly run by Nawa as project coordinator and the town’s acting manager for technical services, a certain S. Mukata as the project quantity surveyor, without any authorization from the ministry.

The town council also sourced the drawings of the building from Sangio Construction and Draughting CC at an amount of N$32 432.00 despite having been provided with the architectural drawings by the ministry.

“The council and the former chairperson of the Local Tender Board, Mr. C. Nawa Nawa must be held accountable for not having appointed a qualified consultant for the construction of the fire station but spending almost the total budget.

“The former chairperson of the local tender board, Mr. C. Nawa Nawa must be hold accountable for having extended the completion date of the construction of the fire station without recommendations from a qualified engineer,” the ministry recommended.

Furthermore, the ministry wants Nawa to be held accountable for having allowed Zen Real Estate CC to use the municipal grader for clearing the site for the fire station without council approval. It also wants Nawa to be held accountable for having appointed himself as project coordinator, Mukata as project quantity surveyor and a certain Mr. Herman as project architect instead of contracting a qualified engineer.

The ministry suggested that the former CEO should further be held accountable for making payments to Vincent and Tiffany Construction CC without working through the consultant. The ministry also wants Nawa Nawa to be held accountable for extending the completion date for the construction of Katima Mulilo Town Council offices without authorisation from the municipal tender board.

“Former local tender board members and former chief executive officer Mr. C. Nawa Nawa must be held accountable for awarding the tender for construction of roads in Katima Mulilo to Piramides Construction CC, despite the company being disqualified by consultant on non-compliance to conditions of the tender.”

The ministry also instructed the town council to take legal action against Nawa for entering into an “illegal” contract with refuse removal companies, Njangula Trading CC and Push and Pull Investment CC, which were paid N$77 000 and N$63 000, respectively. According to the report, a total N$140 000 was paid between June 2016 and July 2017 to the two companies.

The ministry said the allocation of the tender and signing of the contracts were done without the involvement of the heads of department, as per Public Procurement Act regulations. The ministry also found five other refuse removal companies owned by councillors on Katima Mulilo Town Council, their relatives and municipal employees doing business with the council that were unprocedurally awarded a tender amounting to N$222 000.

The companies are Zasco Investments and Equipment Hire CC, which was paid N$48 900; Divula Investments CC owned by Kenneth Ilukena Kawana which got N$30 000; ZBC Trading CC owned by Muzamai Flamming Kanungu got N$84 900. Others are M&O Trading and Construction CC whose directors are Ronel Mwanga Mwiya and Osra Ndapwa Naukosho, which was paid N$35 000. Oscar Kamwi Likando’s firm Oskido was paid N$23 200.

“Most of the refuse removal companies contracted by the town council get paid on a monthly basis without proof that they actually performed the work,” read part of the document. The ministry thus recommended that all these contracts be terminated and re-advertised. “The chief executive officer must recover the overpayment of N$77 000.00 and N$63 000.00 from Njangula Trading CC and Push and Pull Investment CC with immediate effect,” the ministry instructed.

It was also found that the council had contracted four private companies for security services for the period 1 May 2016 to 28 February 2018 without following procedures. The firms contracted for security services allegedly adjusted the number of security guards per site when invoiced by the town council to a point where the monthly payment expense rose from N$78 678.00 to N$102 634.80.

Despite this, the ministerial investigation team found that there was no signed contract between Katima Mulilo Town Council and the “contracted” security companies.

The CEO was requested to cancel the contracts with all security companies and re-advertise the tender for security services. He was also told to recover all unauthorised payments to security companies whose tender amounts were adjusted without following the local authority procurement rules.

“The council must hold the former chairperson of the local tender board Mr. C. Nawa Nawa and all members accountable for awarding security tenders without following the required procedures,” the ministry stated.

Asked about the progress made on the recommendations of the ministry, the town’s incumbent CEO Raphael Liswaniso said the case has been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney-General and the Anti-Corruption Commission.

“We actually have not done anything. We cannot implement the recommendations straight from the ministry. First we have to forward them to the government attorney to advise [us]. We forwarded them already in 2018 and we are just waiting for them. It’s not that we are sitting on it,” he said this week.

Attorney General Festus Mbendeka said he did not know whether the report was attended to or not because he only took to the office recently.

“I will have to check why it has taken long to be resolved,” he said.

The mayor of Katima Mulilo did not answer her mobile mobile phone when contacted for comments. Nawa Nawa’s phone was also off. Confidente sent text messages requesting his side of the story but these were not responded to at the time of going to print.

KM audit report uncovers dodgy dealings

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

COUNCILLORS at Katima Mulilo Town Council and 39 employees of the town had combined outstanding debt on municipal services amounting to N$30 342.84, an audit report conducted in 2017 revealed.

All the councillors owed the town council, although their allowances had recently been adjusted by 2 percent. This is according to an internal audit report compiled in 2017 by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development. The report also reveals that an amount of N$3.1 million was owed to the council by 13 government entities, including ministries, offices and agencies.

At the time of the audit, it was detected that a debt of N$2 million had accumulated as a result of arrears from rates and taxes for the mass housing project handled by National Housing Enterprise (NHE) before the houses were occupied.

The town council also paid its former chief executive officer, Charles Nawa Nawa leave gratuity of N$289,000 for 112 days when he was only supposed to be paid N$134 613 for 60 days. Nawa Nawa is said to have approved his own leave gratuity payments, which were recommended by the municipal human resources manager.

This happened despite the fact that the council owed service providers, such as Namwater and Nored, over N$44 million at the time. The ministry recommended that the council should ensure that the overpayment of N$155 330.76 is recovered from Nawa Nawa.

“Former chief executive officer must be held accountable for approving his own payment of more than prescribed days for leave gratuity,” the report said. The ministry at the time suggested that water supply to those officials and institutions in debt be disconnected with immediate effect.

The report further noted that the council had contracted 44 temporary employees on a one-year contract basis, despite having 32 staff members employed on a permanent basis. The council also paid car allowances to two managers who did not have cars.

“The chief executive officer must ensure that motor vehicle allowances of the managers are terminated with immediate effect and only reinstated upon provision of proof of purchase and monthly vehicle instalments. Chief executive officer must recover the portion of the capital cost of the motor vehicle allowance paid to the two managers paid after three months’ prescribed timeframe,” the ministry instructed.

It is not clear whether the councillors and officials have yet paid their outstanding water bills. Upon inquiry the current CEO, Raphael Liswaniso, said: “Katima Mulilo Town Council hereby informs you that the 2017 Audit Report is currently being attended to by the Attorney General and any correspondences to that effect should be addressed to the said office.”

Georgina Mwiya, who was the mayor at the time of these goings-on at the municipality, referred Confidente to incumbent Katima Mulilo Mayor Charles Matengu, who is the councillors’ spokesperson, but the mayor could not be reached for comment yesterday.