Vleermuis's 'fabricated' fraud charge withdrawn

23 Oct 2013 09:10am
KEETMANSHOOP, 23 OCT (NAMPA) – The fraud charge against suspended Keetmanshoop Town Council Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paul Vleermuis was withdrawn by the council on 13 August this year.
A municipal employee who spoke to Nampa on condition of anonymity on Wednesday said the case against Vleermuis was withdrawn because the council had no evidence to prove that he was indeed guilty of fraud.
“There was no fraud, as there is no amount of money stated in the charge. Vleermuis or any member of his family did not benefit anything from his action for council to conclude fraud.
The truth is that the council fabricated the fraud charge to tarnish Vleermuis’s name, and get rid of him,” said the staff member.
The alleged fraud charge, number seven of about 15 charges against the CEO, reads “On 31 July 2012, you committed fraud when you made a misrepresentation to the Management Committee, and misled the said committee under item 214 of the council’s minutes that the Management Committee had dismissed Kamilius Dingando, whereas you knew that the Management Committee did not dismiss Kamilius Dingando”.
Vleermuis on Tuesday confirmed that the council informed him in August that the charge was withdrawn, but he was not given the reasons for its withdrawal.
He refused to go into detail about his suspension and the other charges he is facing, as he said the matter is still being dealt with by the council.
The staff member also questioned why the alleged fraud case was not registered with the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) like any other criminal charge, adding that completed investigations on most of the charges against Vleermuis had shown that there was no wrongdoing on his side.
“Now, the council is left with seven days to finalise all the cases as his contract is ending next week. They already advertised his position, and informed him that they will not renew his contract,” the council staff member stated.
Vleermuis also confirmed to this news agency that he was informed of the council’s decision not to renew his contract, and that his position was being advertised.
The staff member furthermore took a swipe at Swapo-Party councillor Fiina Elago, blaming her for allegedly siding with the opposition councillors and voting for the suspension of the CEO, who is also a Swapo supporter, in March this year.
“There was no voting. I did not vote for his suspension, it was a unanimous decision. Whoever told you I voted must get their facts right.
Why are you even speaking to me? I do not speak on behalf of the council, rather speak to the chairperson,” a furious Elago responded to this agency.
Keetmanshoop mayor Moses Titus, representing the DTA of Namibia; Mathilde Isaaks of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP); Margret Snewe from the Democratic Party of Namibia (DPN); and Elago are said to have voted for Vleermuis’s suspension.
On his part, Titus admitted that the councillors voted for the suspension, but could not say whether Elago formed part of that process.
The town mayor further denied that the fraud case was fabricated to tarnish Vleermuis’s name and get rid of him, and that it was withdrawn.
He also denied that there was no evidence to prove that his actions constituted fraud, and that investigations proved that Vleermuis was not wrong in most cases.
“The charge was not withdrawn, it just could not be dealt with as a disciplinary case. We are just waiting for the council to sit and finalise all the cases, then we can give the results,” Titus claimed.
He also could not say why the case was not registered with the police, and how much money was allegedly involved.
At one point during the interview, Titus admitted that the use of the term fraud in a disciplinary case was not correct.
“This specific case was supposed to be a disciplinary case, not fraud,” he stated.
Meanwhile, //Karas Governor Bernardus Swartbooi had recently ordered the Keetmanshoop Town Council to withdraw all disciplinary charges against council staff.
Other staff members facing disciplinary cases are suspended Finance manager Quinton Visagie, Strategic Executive for Economic development and Community services Jegg Christiaan and suspended Human resources’ officer Andre Blaauw.
Blaauw and Visagie are facing charges of negligence and unauthorised expenditure, as well as a refusal to follow council instructions, among a host of other charges.
Christiaan faces a main charge of refusing to act as CEO when Vleermuis was suspended.