Maria Hamutenya

President Hage Geingob has summoned Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Peter Vilho, following allegations of illicit proceeds in undeclared foreign bank account.

The meeting according to the Presidency is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 6 April 2021.

“President Geingob has summoned the Minister following consultation with the Vice President, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister”.

This comes as Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) President, McHenry Venaani, has dared the President to fire Vilho, amid allegations of corruption and mismanagement at August 26 levelled against him.

In an open letter to the President on the 31st of March, Venaani called on decisive action against the Defence Minister. “Over the past months, we have witnessed a number of reports about your Defence Minister’s alleged involvement in illicit and corrupt activities. Rear Admiral (ret) Peter Vilho has been plagued by corruption allegations since he started his term. These accusations Mr. President, coupled with a troubled economy, are quite damning. That during economic contractions such as these, ministers engage in illicit activities at home and abroad, all in the name of greed, is despicable to say the least. I call on your high office to recall the incumbent Defence Minister and allow an impartial investigation in the alleged activities, this to restore the hope of the citizenry in your leadership,” the letter reads.

“At a time when the nation needs to be reassured of a leadership that has sufficient understanding of what is required to jumpstart our economy, you have done little to this effect. There was a time, Mr. President,that many thought of you as a leader with the interests of the sovereigns at heart, your inability, however, to heed to the call for accountability and transparency of August 26 is raising doubts in our minds on your commitment to fight maleficent and corruption in the public domain, your action is much needed.”

Venaani called on the President to demote the Defence minister to an ordinary Member of Parliament while an investigation is carried out around the allegations raised against him.

“I have written to the President that he must relief the Defence Minister, he can serve as an ordinary MP until his investigations because his investigations are quite very serious in its nature and I expect him to react,” he said.

“There was a time, Mr. President that many thought of you as a leader with the interests of the sovereigns at heart, your inability however, to heed to the call for accountability and transparency of August 26 is raising doubts in our minds on your commitment to fight maleficent and corruption in the public domain, your action is much needed.”

The PDM leader said should action not be taken, his party would consider taking the matter around allegations of mismanagement at August 26 to court. “We are considering taking the matter to court but I still need to consult the leadership of the party before taking the decision,” he said.

According to Venaani, in the Ombudsman’s Report, one finds that consecutive boards of August 26 Holding Company failed since its incorporation on 14 August 1998 to submit annual reports to the portfolio ministers.

“It is quite unsettling that not a single audit report has ever made it to the National Assembly despite the fact that August 26 or its subsidiaries have been recipients of multimillion Government contracts,” said Venaani

Vilho has been accused by Windhoek Mayor, Job Amupanda, of lining his pockets at the expense of the Defence Ministry.

Some of the allegations by Amupanda, are that Vilho sanctioned a N$200 million transfer from the Defence Ministry to the commercial arm, August 26 Holding Company, without treasury approval, an action which he alleges to be unlawful but was not flagged by auditing firm , PwC, which conducted an audit of the company.

According to the Windhoek Mayor, the Defence Ministry bought naval ships and military uniforms from Brazilian companies at inflated prices, and without following tender procedures during Vilho’s term as Executive Director of the ministry.

The Public Accounts and Auditor’s Board (PAAB) has instituted an investigation into allegations raised against auditing firm PwC, that it deliberately overlooked anomalies found during its audit of August 26.