The plot thickens at the Kalkrand Village Council following the findings of the Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Rural Development’s investigation team tasked with looking into the corrupt relationship between the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer.
According to an MLGHRD official, who formed part of the ministry’s preliminary investigation team that travelled to Kalkrand last week, a pile of cheques meant for the Build Together project at the village, amounting to thousands of dollars were discovered to have been corruptly paid out to Connie Bock, the Council’s embattled acting chief executive. The Council’s finance officer has since been requested to cease writing out further cheques to Bock.
The investigation team’s visit was followed up with another call by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Sirrka Ausiku, and the ministry’s chief finance officer. The findings are currently with Minister Jerry Ekandjo for input and a directive to return a second investigation team to conduct a thorough examination of the Council’s finances, a course of action that the MLGHRD official says is inevitable, due to the high level of corruption already detected.
Bock is reported to have unlawfully landed the CEO post, because of his friendship and business dealings with chairperson, Adriaan Beukes, who unfairly dismissed Neville Smit from that position in 2010. Bock owns a construction company previously contracted by the Council to supply concrete building blocks to the Build Together project. The building project has since come to a standstill due to a lack of funds, leaving many potential home owners homeless and destitute. Informanté could not establish whether the brick supply contract between Bock and the Council was terminated to avoid a conflict of interest after he was brought in as CEO two years ago.
Besides the discovery of the fraudulent cheques, Bock was also re-issued with a letter dated 12 June 2012 from Minister Ekandjo, requesting him to vacate the office, an order he refused to comply with to date. According to the MLGHRD official, Bock contends that the ministry must first complete its investigation and find him guilty before he forfeits the position of CEO.
Meanwhile, James Hansen, the Kalkrand resident who walked 200 kilometers to Windhoek two weeks ago to expose Bock and Beukes’ shady practices, has reportedly been experiencing harassment from Beukes and his associates, while seated outside the Council offices, where he is continuing his protest.
“Adrian Beukes and his friend Menthol Links are still provoking me. But where can I get help? The police are not helping and regard me as a liar. Maybe the police also regard me as a threat. Corruption is everywhere and they want to silence me,” Hansen alleged in a text message to Informanté.