By Confidente Reporter
THE Ministry of Environment and Tourism is probing the alleged misappropriation of Doro !Nawas Conservancy funds amounting to an estimated N$180 000, Confidente has learnt.
The investigation follows the dismissal of the conservancy’s vice-chairperson, Leonard !Hoaeb, and treasurer Lourens //Hoeseb on 22 June. The duo is accused of abusing conservancy funds for their own personal gain, instead of for the betterment of the drought-stricken community in the Kunene region.
They were removed from office following a vote of no confidence.
Documents at hand reveal that in early 2016, !Hoaeb was allocated a N$15 000 cheque by //Hoeseb to get vehicle quotations from Windhoek.
“During the past three years, thousands of dollars in community funds got lost through corrupt practices committed by conservancy executive members. The cheques were written out and funds used for personal gain. To date, no account on record was given about how the money was spent,” the documents read in part.
They further reveal that during the same period, !Hoaeb was again apportioned N$15 000 to repair and install a water pump at the conservancy, but allegedly nothing came of it.
Under close scrutiny is also the disappearance of N$20 000 from conservancy coffers, meant for a funeral of a game guard.
It is further revealed that //Hoeseb used N$85 000 in conservancy funds to purchase an old Ford bakkie from his brother-in-law. The brother-in-law had previously bought the second-hand car for N$45 000.
“The car was bought for double the original price, without the consultation of other committee members, as well as without following the guidelines of the constitution when purchasing moveable property,” the documents said.
Speaking on the issue this week, the tourism ministry’s public relations officer, Romeo Muyunda, said that investigations are at an advanced stage, before adding that recommendations will soon be formulated for further action.
“The ministry is aware of administrative and financial issues within the conservancy. The matter was reported to our regional office and instructions were given to see to it that the matter is attended to. The deputy director in the area met with the current committee, to get information on what the issues are. The ministry will work on the information gathered to take an appropriate action,” Muyunda said.
Asked what is likely to happen should the duo be found guilty, Muyunda said, “We don’t want to pre-empt anything, but if found guilty the committee will have to be replaced. With regards to the issue of theft of money, a case will be lodged with the police.”
The conservancy’s current chairperson, Gerson Namiseb, confirmed this week that !Hoaeb and //Hoeseb were removed from office, with the help of the community.
“The ministry is still busy with their investigations, but I can confirm that they were removed from office through a vote of confidence by the community, because of allegations of abusing funds.
Namiseb also said that an audit into the finances of the conservancy is underway, before adding it will reveal how much was abused.
When contacted for comment, !Hoaeb said that he and //Hoeseb were unfairly removed from office.
“I am aware of the allegations against us, but we were removed from office without being heard. We were replaced pending the finalisation of this matter, which is against the conservancy’s constitution. I also lodged complaints with the ministry, because we were never consulted,” he said.
Efforts to get comment from // Hoeseb proved futile, as his mobile phone went unanswered. He also did not respond to a text message sent to him, at the time of going to print.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015