Litany of corruption charges against Grootfontein CEO

Obrein Simasiku

A dark cloud of alleged circumvention of tendering processes, insults and alleged disregard of policies and procedures, are some of the underlying issues forming the basis for charges against the suspended Grootfontein Chief Executive Officer, Kisco Sinvula, whose journey at the municipality has been turbulent since taking over in March 2020.

Sinvula has been officially charged on Friday with an avalanche of 30 charges. He is charged for insubordination, abuse of power, violations of the Local Authorities Act of 1992, violations of the Procurement Act, corruption, forgery, misleading and misrepresentation of facts, negligent trading, utterances and violations of the labour law, racketeering and the misuse of public funds.

His disciplinary hearing is set for 19 to 22 July at the Grootfontein council chambers, and is to be conducted by Frank Kopplinger of Kopplinger Boltman legal practitioners. This follows his fall out in March when he was suspended, ironically making the month of March special as it marked his entry and his preliminary exit. Chief among the charges involves that of fraud, bribery, and gross negligence, relating to the tender of 240 wheelie bins, to which it is alleged that Sinvula facilitated and solicited monies amounting to N$40 000. It is alleged that he increased the bid price for Plastic Packaging and Rock Leight Investment.

Another charge includes that of awarding a road sealing tender to a certain Otjomuise Construction cc, and also giving it council materials without authorisation from management. The tender amount was N$5 075 000, a figure alleged to have been inflated and in excess of the budget, according to the charge sheet in possession of the Windhoek Observer.

Sinvula is further accused of having solicited plots from a private developer in exchange for municipal facilitates to construct a tarred road at a street connecting his service station.

It is further alleged that, Sinvula let unauthorised personnel to evaluate a N$12 million electrical tender for Omulunga extension 8.

Other charges are relating to double-dipping of Subsistence and Travel allowance, failure to institute disciplinary charges against an employee; as well as irregularly recruiting a personal assistant, including making changes to the municipality organisational structure and extending his employment contract from five to six years, all these without council approval.

“During November and December 2021 you made changes to the organisational establishment, job description, job specification, grading and creation of new positions without approval from council and the minister. Also during your tenure you increased your salary [Sinvula] and that of a chief property and community development officer, Mr Indileni Lungameni without the necessary approval,” read part of the six page charge sheet signed off by the management committee chairperson Elizabeth Kastoor.

In addition, its alleged that Sinvula authorised payment of advertisement services to a South African company that never rendered such services, saying this was in contravention of Procurement Act 15 of 2015. Another additional charge, relates to the appointment of Clive Kavendji Law firm without the approval of council. The law firm is said to be also Sinvula’s personal lawyers, thereby bringing an element of conflict of interest.

Sinvula has been on a warpath ever since joining the municipality, having also engaged in heated infighting with the previous council, and it never got any better with his new bosses who were appointed in December 2020, thus raising questions whether he was in a wrong place, at a wrong time.

By Observer