MHETI’s attempt at clarification rubbished

Niël Terblanché

Job Amupanda, the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) leader, has revealed more evidence of the alleged fraudulent subsistence and travel (S&T) claims of the Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Itah Kandjii-Murangi.

Amupanda posted pictures of documents that he claimed were falsified by either the minister or by another person on her behalf on his social media platforms.

Along with the pictures, he explains the method used to falsify the documents and that a quick visual analysis of the documents reveals that the content of an invitation letter has been changed and that the forger used a different typeface while committing the crime.

“I see the Ministry of S&T Affairs and Kandjii-Murangi has just released a hogwash statement that is talking about the moon and the stars and not amounts and bank accounts. It (the letter of invitation) has different fonts and different writing styles. No one in her Ministry wants to sign off the statement and put their names there. Understandably no one wants to be associated with corruption but they just have to do their work. We will analyseand respond to these statements by ghosts!” he said in his posts on Twitter.

Amupanda also produced a document that he claims is a request by the ministry to transfer funds into Kandjii-Murangi’s account.

The ministry in an official statement, said that there has been a number of serious allegations on social media posts, regarding various payments made by the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation for subsistence and travel to Minister Kandjii-Murangi.

The long-winded statement was made to clarify the administrative processes followed for Subsistence and Travel Allowance payment to staff members and political office bearers.

“Allow me to explain what necessitates staff of the ministry, including Political Office Bearers (POB) to attend activities or events outside their duty station, including inside and outside the country. Firstly, a staff member or the POB could be invited by an institution or government or bilateral or multilateral organization to attend an activity or event. Alternatively, a staff member or a POB can choose to attend activities or events as scheduled by Bilateral and Multilateral organizations with necessary internal authorization or could visit institutions or participate in events outside the country that are within the mandate of the ministry,” the statement reads.

The statement went on to explain the rates which beneficiaries can use and how the application process works.

“If the administration is satisfied with the submission, the S&T is calculated using the appropriate government rate and thereafter the allowance of the staff member or POB is paid into their personal accounts, in order for the staff member or POB to pay for their accommodation and cover all living expenses including meals,” the statement reads.

The ministry has a number of Public Enterprises under its control with which it collaborates to implement various programmes and activities. This includes institutions of higher learning such as UNAM, NUST, NQA, and NCHE as well as Technical Vocational Education and Training Institutions (NTA) and Research, Science and Technology Institutions (NCRST).

“When organizing events or attending activities within our functional scope, the Public Institutions, as well as the Ministry, approach each other to assist in covering costs related to these activities or events. There is nothing peculiar to this process,” the ministry claimed.

According to the statement, the minister was formally invited to a number of events last year as well as this year, that were duly approved, authorized and funded as per the internal processes of government.

These events included the Conference of Ministers of Educationin South Korea, which focused on Youth Development, and Entrepreneurship; the 60th Independence Celebration of Jamaica, as a member of the Namibian official delegation that was to be led by the President.

The minister was also invited by the UNESCO Assistant Director General for Social and Human Sciences to New York, to address a side event on the margins of the 67th session of the Commission of Women Status on the ‘Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Access’.

“As explained, the minister’s costs for attending this event were paid by the Paris Office of UNESCO,” the ministry said.

The ministry also stated that the local NATCOM office did not divert project money to pay the minister.

“UNAM, NUST, and NTA were approached to assist the ministry in paying the minister, and after the resources were made available to the Ministry, the Public Institutions were refunded, accordingly,” the statement said.

The Ministry said that it would like to assure Namibians that the internal administrative processes were followed in all payments made to the minister and that it remains committed to fighting corruption and building an ethical nation.

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