Karasburg councillors set to appear in court again

Martin Enjdala

Members of the Karasburg Town Council, who were arrested on Monday, are scheduled for their second court appearance on Friday. During this session, they plan to file a formal bail application.

Their initial appearance was at the Karasburg Magistrate Court on Tuesday, where Magistrate Samingo Kasaone ordered their continued detention.

The LPM’s Spokesperson, Lifalaza Simaata, confirmed this decision yesterday.

The councillors were taken into custody by members of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for alleged violations of the Local Authority Act.

On Tuesday, the ACC confirmed the arrests of Karasburg Town Council Mayor Maria Veldskoen, Chairperson of the Management Committee Franciskus Skeyer, and Acting Chief Executive (CEO) Hansina Isaacks.

The arrests followed a series of complaints by Karasburg residents.

During a community gathering on 29 June 2023, which was attended by the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni, the majority voiced their concerns about the Town Council’s operations. Uutoni’s visit aimed to understand the prevailing conditions in the town.

Key issues raised by residents included the appointments of both the Acting CEO and the Personal Assistant to the Mayor and the alleged misuse of a council vehicle for personal and political activities.

Uutoni also raised concerns about changes to the signatory rights for the council’s bank accounts. He stated that these alterations directly contravened the local authority councillors’ code of conduct and urged immediate rectification.

In July 2023, more complaints reached the Ministry, which indicated a power struggle between certain council members and the substantive CEO, Nico Titus.

This followed Titus’s return from a suspension tied to an alleged disappearance of N$10 million from the council’s bank account in the previous year.

In August 2023, Uutoni sought updates on the council’s situation and invited council members and the mayor for a meeting.

However, their absence from the meeting led Uutoni to further press for adherence to the Local Authority Act.

He warned that those not complying should correct their actions and let the elected individuals manage council operations or be ready to face consequences.

“I am once again urging you and the entire Council to uphold and respect established legal and administrative procedures, as per the oath of office that you took,” Uutoni said at the time.

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