Cancel 85 ha allocation to Armstrong Construction: KDPF

30 Jul 2015 17:00pm
By Sawi Lutibezi
RUNDU, 30 JUL (NAMPA) - Members of the Kavango Development Progress Forum (KDPF) are demanding that the allocation of 85 hectares of identified land to Armstrong Construction CC be cancelled.
Armstrong Construction CC is owned by Dockey Makuti and Mathew Hungamo - a younger brother to Permanent Secretary of the National Planning Commission Leevi Hungamo.
The Rundu-based civil society organisation that was formed to expose alleged massive fraud and looting at the Rundu Town Council has threatened a mass demonstration if the allocation of land to the company is not revised.
KDPF members have vowed zero tolerance to corruption, greed, poor service delivery and cronyism in the allocation of tenders without proper procedures being followed.
In 2010 the same company was awarded a tender to fence off a dumpsite situated less than 10 kilometres south of Rundu worth N.dollars 900 000.
Residents who are members of KDPF say they are angry that only a selected few are given opportunities continuously, and are demanding that such acts be addressed.
In the minutes of the council’s discussions in possession of Nampa on this issue at a Rundu Town Council meeting on 14 August 2013, the council accepted a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement proposed to it by Armstrong Construction CC for the establishment and development of new townships.
The development, which will comprise approximately 600 erven, will be on an identified portion of the remainder of Farm Rundu town lands No. 1329, situated south of the C45 National Road between Rundu and Nkurenkuru.
The document further states that the proposal was accepted on condition, among others, that approval by the line ministry be obtained by council to allocate the 85 ha of land to Armstrong Construction.
A written request, dated 15 August 2013, was submitted to the line ministry for the allocation of the land.
The line ministry, now Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, via e-mail correspondence dated 02 October 2013, requested the council to submit amongst others a draft memorandum of agreement between the council and Armstrong Construction, relevant to the partnership for scrutiny and legal tending.
The construction company consequently requested the documents to instruct its attorneys to draft the memorandum of agreement, which was forwarded to the council’s attorney, Kwala and Company Inc, for scrutiny.
Kwala and Company confirmed that the draft was found to be in order.
Spokesperson of KDPF, Linus Neumbo told this news agency on Wednesday the agreement between the council and Armstrong Construction was supposed to be published with an invitation for objections from members of the public.
“It is only when those objections with the people have been dealt with that you can proceed. No such process took place. The residents of this town strongly object to this development continuing,” Neumbo said.
Last week, the Namibian government and leaders of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) group signed an agreement, which paved the way for servicing 200 000 plots countrywide and the subsequent suspension of the planned mass land grab on 31 July 2015.
Government committed itself to start servicing erven in Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Oshakati on a pilot project basis.
It was further resolved that the period between 29 July and 05 August 2015 will be dedicated to a nationwide clearance of identified urban land.
“In terms of the new programme by government this is the land that should be identified and be serviced. So this must be reverted back to the town council and it must tell us to come clear it ourselves as residents,” Neumbo urged.
He said residents will volunteer to service the land, stating that if the PPP continues, the KDPF and its 1 000 members will organise that people occupy land illegally.
“They cannot speculate with our land to enrich themselves. Otherwise they (town council) must bring us the breakdown of how we will benefit,” he stressed, adding that under the PPP land will become unaffordable.
Approached for comment, co-owner Makuti said development on the land is at an advanced stage and servicing of the land will start early next year.
“A public meeting was held for people to raise their views on this issue but no one turned up for the meeting, which was held at the Kavango Regional Council. When the environmental assessment was done, adverts were put up all over and no one had an objection,” he said.
Makuti further explained that his company is going to build close to 600 houses of which the profit will be shared equally between the town council and Armstrong Construction.
He indicated that thus far, N.dollars 5 million has been spent on the environmental assessment and the drawing up of plans for the development before servicing starts.
The entrepreneur said the PPP between his company and the town council is finalised and there is nothing KDPF can do to reverse the process.
“People from our region are very quick to point fingers when someone from the region is awarded land or is successful, but when people from outside or foreigners are awarded land, no one seems to have a problem,” he added.
In 2011 the duo’s other company, known as M&D Construction and Electrical Company, made headlines with accusations that it received a N.dollars 10 million contract through the flouting of tender rules. Leevi Hungamo was the chairperson of the Targeted Investment Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (Tipeeg), which funded the projects.
Armstrong Construction, which started out by establishing a brick manufacturing plant in 2010, now owns most of the multi-million dollar properties in Rundu, ranging from flats at the riverside, houses around the town and various plots in industrial areas.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Rundu Town Council, Romanus Haironga’s phone went unanswered on Wednesday and Thursday.