Kandjemuni Kamuiiri

Municipality of Walvis Bay has to fork out close to N$700 000 an on-going audit into irregularities at the Municipality.

Auditing firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which is currently under investigation by the Public Accounts and Auditor’s Board (PAAB) regarding its handling of the August 26 audit, was appointed to carry out the audit.

“PriceWaterhouseCoopers was appointed to carry out an independent audit report with a charging fee of N$671,853.00 including VAT and investigation is still in process,” Walvis Bay Municipality Council Communications Officer, Anita Kaihiva, told the Windhoek Observer

The revelation comes after the municipality committed to appoint an external auditor to verify the report on the misappropriation of funds that was flagged by former Walvis Bay Constituency Councilor, Knowledge Iipinge.

In February 2021 Kaihiva had said she expected the investigation to be done by the end of March,which resulted in the suspension of municipality Chief Executive Officer, Muronga Haigura, General Manager of Community and Economic Development Agosthino Victor, Manager of Housing and Properties Jack Manale, and Properties Clerk Constance Summers over the alleged misappropriation estimated at N$24 million.

“The independent auditing firm is about halfway through the process. They have finished their investigations internally (i.e. the relevant municipal departments), while their focus is now on some of the external parties (i.e. legal conveyancers),” Kaihiva said.

On what the timelines are for the investigations or when they are likely to conclude, Kaihiva said, “we are estimating another four to five weeks.”

The municipality last previously told the Windhoek Observer that the money was merely deemed as missing due to a banking error, which Kaihiva said was part of the investigation.

The missing funds, estimated at N$24 million, were part of a massive urban land servicing initiative, however, proceeds from the development never reached the municipality account and remain unaccounted for.

According to Haigura, the money had been flagged as ‘missing’ from a June 2018 financial report merely due to a banking error where around N$18 million was deposited by a bank without a reference into the Walvis Bay municipality’s account, hence diverting it to a suspense account.

The N$18 million, Haingura said, was for 68 houses. These were part of over 800 houses from the Mass Urban Land Servicing Project in Kuisebmund and Narraville, for which construction began in January 2017. Currently the town’s Finance Manager Frans Gonteb was appointed to take over the duties of the suspended CEO on an interim basis while investigations continue.

The municipality is under pressure to conclude the investigation as the suspended officials are still being paid.