Land-a-Dollar campaign drum money unaccounted for

26 Sep 2017 15:10pm
By Linea Dishena
WINDHOEK, 26 SEP (NAMPA) – Money collected through the much publicised 'Land-a-Dollar' drum collection campaign has not been accounted for, seven months after the drum collection drive ended.
An investigation by Nampa found that no one was ready to be held accountable for this undisclosed sum of money collected during the campaign’s drum project that ran between August 2015 and February 2017.
The campaign aimed to raise between N.dollars 1 million and N.dollars 3 million to contribute towards land servicing in urban areas, and more than 300 empty drums of 200-litres each were placed at various locations in 15 towns to collect money from the public.
Former University of Namibia (UNAM) Student Representative Council (SRC) President Vincent Shimutwikeni, who was at the helm of the student body at the time the Land-a-Dollar campaign was launched in August 2015, told this agency in a telephone interview on 09 September that he had no details about the money as the auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), were in possession of it having been assigned the responsibility to audit the project’s accounts.
An accountant at PWC, Martin Shaanika who was said to be in charge of the audit process, refused to comment on the matter upon enquiry on 09 September.
However, in reply to questions sent via email about the audited report on the money, PWC Partner Stefan Hugo confirmed that the auditing firm was engaged by UNAM to perform the “agreed upon procedures and issue a factual finding report”.
“The factual report is not an audit report, but rather a confirmation of the outcome of a specific limited procedure as per signed agreement letter with then UNAM SRC president,” said Hugo.
Hugo explained that PWC has not issued the factual findings report as they did not receive all information needed to finalise the agreed procedures.
He could not specify the type of information that was still pending, saying this was a confidential matter between PWC and the client.
Contacted for comment after Nampa spoke to Hugo, Shimutwikeni said he was not aware of any pending information in this regard and referred this journalist to the campaign’s administrator, Emileeza Ludeke, as she “would know about the pending information given her role in the campaign”.
Ludeke said they were still waiting for PWC to issue the report.
Asked specifically about the “pending information”, Ludeke said she did not know about the pending information.
“I am only telling you what I know,” she said.
UNAM Public Relations Officer, Simon Namesho said the campaign was a student initiative under the 2015 SRC and was upheld by the 2016 SRC.
“Since the close of the campaign, with the assistance of the Namibian Police, the drums were collected in each town and taken to the nearest NamPost office for counting of the collection in accordance to the auditing procedures established.”
Launched under the theme, ‘Setting a foundation for your home’, the campaign was overseen by UNAM’s Office of the Dean of Students as with all other activities with the SRC, said Namesho.
The money was to be handed over to the Office of the President for the Mass Urban Land Servicing Programme, which sought to service 200 000 erven around the country.
The 'Land-a-Dollar' campaign, which includes money collection through text messages, a mobile application, public dialogues and gala dinners, was in response to President Hage Geingob’s call for all Namibians to support the land servicing project that kicked off in July 2015 at Goreangab’s Extension 4.
The project stems from a meeting held in Windhoek in July 2015 between Government and the Affirmative Repositioning movement, where it was agreed that local authorities countrywide identify land to be cleared and serviced for housing development.
The meeting had set a target of about 200 000 plots that should be made available through this process.