Water committee member accused of theft

06 May 2015 08:50am
ONGWEDIVA, 06 MAY (NAMPA) – A member of the water committee for the Ohalushu-Okadila pipeline in the Ohangwena Region is being accused of misappropriating money she received from villagers as payment for their water consumption since 2012.
Affected villagers, especially the residents of Ohalushu village, this week alleged that Rebecca Ndume has failed to pay the money to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s Rural Water Supply unit for the past three years.
The misappropriated funds are said to amount to thousands of dollars.
The villagers who asked not to be named said monies they paid to Ndume since 2012 amounts to as much as N.dollars 10 000.
They went on to say the amounts could be higher. These are still to be determined once they can obtain the books containing records of the water payment books from Ndume.
Villagers indicated that Ndume, apart from being a water committee member, is also the secretary of the drought relief food distribution committee in the Endola Constituency and coordinator of the constituency’s AIDS coordination committee.
“We want her to pay back the money so that we can pay the Rural Water Supply account before our water supply is disconnected,” the villagers said.
Speaking to this news agency in a telephonic interview from the Endola Constituency last week, Ndume admitted that she used some of the money in question for personal purposes.
She claimed she used the money to pay the family of a young man who was allegedly murdered by her son in the Omungwelume area, also in the Ohangwena Region, last year.
“Why did they run to the media before the investigations on the matter are finished?” Ndume asked.
She further alleged that members of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) at Ohalushu are determined to tarnish her image because she is a Swapo-Party member.
She said she has consulted relevant offices, including that of Endola Councillor Ferdinand Shifidi, and they agreed that she could pay back the money.
“Those who took the matter up with the media have politically-motivated intentions because I see no good reason for the issue to be published in the newspapers as if I have refused to pay back the money,” Ndume said.
The complaining members of the community are, however adamant in accusing Ndume of theft of their money.
'Whether she will pay back the money or not, the fact is that she has stolen by using the money for personal purposes without seeking our consent,' the complainants argued.
They also shot down Ndume's claims that their complaints are politically-motivate, and charged that she 'involves politics in the story to gain sympathy'.
Approached for comment on Tuesday, Shifidi said Ndume has in fact informed his office that she was going to pay back the money.
'She informed our office only verbally that she will pay back, no written agreement is in place,' Shifidi explained.