City officials charged over car battery irregularities

Some of the batteries were allegedly used privately, while there are also concerns that procurement procedures were not followed. To some, the process is aimed at targeting low-ranking officials who followed their bosses' instructions. A City of Windhoek audit report, which was seen by The Namibian, was conducted by the city's internal audit department. Municipality spokesperson Lydia Amutenya has confirmed the allegations of theft, saying the involved employees are currently subjected to a disciplinary hearing. “Nine officials were recommended for disciplinary action, and all have been charged,” she says, adding the hearings have commenced and are ongoing. Amutenya says action will be taken against those officials who are found guilty. The officials implicated are Selma Amupolo, Steven Aboas, Johannes Mouton, German Imalwa, Max Shivute, Salomo Rukoro, Irvin van Wyk, Andries Mbangu and Theresia Neis. All have declined to comment. The investigation report says there is a lack of control regarding the issuing and collecting of new batteries, as even unauthorised staff members collect batteries from suppliers. In one case, an artisan allegedly requested the purchase of 16 batteries for the city's buses at a total cost of N$42 000 – without the approval of the city's bus services division. Another case cited in the report is the replacing of batteries after only three months. “A battery replacement in less than one year should be done at the service provider's costs, since the battery is guaranteed if not stolen,” the report reads. The internal auditors say these cases prove that the city's financial system is at risk. “There is no evidence of supervisor inspection of the battery control book observed with this investigation. The control measures at the garage store regarding receiving, recording and issuing of new and used batteries are ineffective and inefficient,” the report says. The investigation recommended that the city's executive of finance and customer services, Jennifer Comalie, consider disciplinary action against all nine officials. Comalie this week referred questions to the municipality's communications department. The internal auditors say the city's current control measures in place at the fleet division are compromised, weakening those measures. “It was noted that the garage storeman is reporting to the contract management and planning coordinator, and subsequently to the manager of the municipal fleet division,” the report reads. They advise that the storage and issuing of parts should be separated from the fleet division “to strengthen controls”. The city's agreement with the batteries' suppliers, according to the report, is that if they were to be faulty in less than one year, they are to be replaced at no cost. The report says the city's storeman did not comply with the operations guideline when issuing new batteries without collecting used ones.

City officials charged over car battery irregularities
Some of the batteries were allegedly used privately, while there are also concerns that procurement procedures were not followed. To some, the process is aimed at targeting low-ranking officials who followed their bosses' instructions. A City of Windhoek audit report, which was seen by The Namibian, was conducted by the city's internal audit department. Municipality spokesperson Lydia Amutenya has confirmed the allegations of theft, saying the involved employees are currently subjected to a disciplinary hearing. “Nine officials were recommended for disciplinary action, and all have been charged,” she says, adding the hearings have commenced and are ongoing. Amutenya says action will be taken against those officials who are found guilty. The officials implicated are Selma Amupolo, Steven Aboas, Johannes Mouton, German Imalwa, Max Shivute, Salomo Rukoro, Irvin van Wyk, Andries Mbangu and Theresia Neis. All have declined to comment. The investigation report says there is a lack of control regarding the issuing and collecting of new batteries, as even unauthorised staff members collect batteries from suppliers. In one case, an artisan allegedly requested the purchase of 16 batteries for the city's buses at a total cost of N$42 000 – without the approval of the city's bus services division. Another case cited in the report is the replacing of batteries after only three months. “A battery replacement in less than one year should be done at the service provider's costs, since the battery is guaranteed if not stolen,” the report reads. The internal auditors say these cases prove that the city's financial system is at risk. “There is no evidence of supervisor inspection of the battery control book observed with this investigation. The control measures at the garage store regarding receiving, recording and issuing of new and used batteries are ineffective and inefficient,” the report says. The investigation recommended that the city's executive of finance and customer services, Jennifer Comalie, consider disciplinary action against all nine officials. Comalie this week referred questions to the municipality's communications department. The internal auditors say the city's current control measures in place at the fleet division are compromised, weakening those measures. “It was noted that the garage storeman is reporting to the contract management and planning coordinator, and subsequently to the manager of the municipal fleet division,” the report reads. They advise that the storage and issuing of parts should be separated from the fleet division “to strengthen controls”. The city's agreement with the batteries' suppliers, according to the report, is that if they were to be faulty in less than one year, they are to be replaced at no cost. The report says the city's storeman did not comply with the operations guideline when issuing new batteries without collecting used ones.