Swartbooi threatens to report PM to ACC

Andrew Kathindi

Landless People’s Movement (LPM) leader, Bernardus Swartbooi, is threatening to report Prime Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) over allegations that she illegally occupied a farm which she sold to Government.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform approved the purchase of two farms belonging to the Prime Minister to the tune of N$14 million. Swartbooi alleged that the Prime Minister illegally occupied the farms that were originally placed under her portfolio, but meant to be rehabilitated for resettlement of generational workers from the San Community.

“Once we have acquired each and every part of the necessary information, we are certain to go and make a case at the ACC, so that the Prime Minister can be charged with corruption, and that she too can be prosecuted according to the laws.”

According to Swartbooi, a final will and testament from a farm owner whom he did not name, had dictated that Government must purchase his farm after his passing for the purpose of resettling generational farmworkers who are San community members.

“Government acquired that farm. The farm was assigned to be in the Prime Minister’s office under the San Development Programme, but it appears that once that farm was brought into the fray for the San Development Programme, the allegation is that the Prime Minister took that farm and began to occupy that farm as well as part of our own property.”

Agriculture Minister, Calle Schlettwein, recently defended the purchase of the two farms, stating that no preference was given to a valuation company in which the Prime Minister and her husband are believed to be shareholders.

“We are still further verifying that process. But in 2018, a delegation of the San community came to us to speak about that matter. And they are now calling us to give further information on the illegal occupation and possession of that farm by the Prime Minister,” said Swarbooi

Meanwhile the reign of Keetmashoop town council controversial Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Desmond Basson could come to an abrupt end, with the Landless People Movement which won control of the council threatening to finally take action.

Basson faces several allegations, including awarding a debt collection tender to Redforce Debt Management in 2017, without the town Council approval.

LPM leader, Bernadus Swartbooi said heads could roll after this weekend, when the party meets to discuss matters affecting the council.

“There is an issue of N$8 million from Build Together houses programme that is not accounted for. And it’s not just that CEO, it’s one or two other administrators that are involved in this matter. Our stance is that corruption must be dealt with, whoever it is. And we will be engaging during this weekend, precisely about some of those matters and heads have to roll,” Swartbooi told Windhoek Observer.

Basson also stands accused costing the town millions after allegedly entering into an agreement with South African profit recovery firm, Maxprof, without council approval.

“ “We are not here, because this person is related to this councillor, that’s not our damn business. If people are alleged to have done wrong things, even if their family members of some councillors, they have to account,” Swartbooi said.

“If there is a CEO, as in this case, we are going to do exactly the same. We are not a party that was just occupying positions, and keep on doing the same things that other political parties have done. So just give us a chance. We will give you feedback as to the decisive and deliberate action that will be taken not only, as I said, about the CEO, but about other people.”

Bassoon however is not the only troublesome figure at the at the town as Sandra Paulton, who is employed as a debtor’s Accountant and who is an LPM member faces 53 charges from the town council, including disobeying work-related orders, by failing to timeously allocate direct deposits against consumer accounts as per her job description, resulting in unallocated payments in the tune of over N$ 5 million.

Chairperson of the management committee for Keetmashoop, on LPM’s ticket, Easter Isaak said that while she was suspended for these charges, she has since returned to work in January to a different department because she was getting a free pay while on suspension.

“Council cannot pay someone a salary and, in the meantime, there is no person that can fill that void. It has nothing to do with her being an LPM member, it’s merely about natural justice.”

Isaak however said he could not comment further as the disciplinary process has started.

LPM won the elections last year in the Keetmashoop town council where its members now hold positions as mayor and Chairperson of the management committee in the southern town.

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