Defence minister, Penda Ya Ndakolo, has flatly denied ever purchasing farm Otjisemba located in the Otjozondjupa region, following allegations that the ministry had spent a whopping N$24 million on it without finance approval.
The minister was last week taken to task over the said allegations by PDM parliamentary, Jennifer van Heever, who asked why he did not divulge any information on the sale or purchase of this farm when he updated the nation on the Oropoko deal.
Heever also wanted to have Ya Ndakolo inform the August House the purpose of the said property.
“The ministry of defence did not purchase farm Otjisemba because it does not have money to purchase farm Otjisemba. However, I want to make it clear that the ministry of defence, as legal entity, has the same rights and obligations as any other legal entity to purchase any kind of property or asset that is needed in the interest of the defence of our country, provided all legal procedures for the buying of such properties are followed, from budgeting to the actual transactions of such deals,” he said.
He also stamped that the ministry had no plan to purchase the farm anytime now.
Meanwhile, media reports have it that the ministry had entered into an agreement of sale on the 15th of March last year, allegations which Ya Ndakolo rubbished.
Three months ago, a local daily reported that the minister of finance, Calle Schlettwein, had divulged that “the deal was seemingly concluded while treasury was pre-occupied with the settlement of outstanding invoices from the 2016/17 financial year.”
“According to Schlettwein, the defence ministry did not follow the correct procedures for the purchase of the farm,” reported the daily.
Ya Ndakolo has however come out to cast doubt on whether the finance minister had indeed divulged such information, “Because under normal circumstances a Ministry does not need Treasury permission to purchase a property unless the money used in such a deal was not budgeted for”.
“If the money is budgeted for and all tender procedures are followed, why would Treasury permission be required? It is also important to reiterate that the ministry of defence acquires properties and assets in line with its Medium-Term and Strategic Plans, which have the approval of the National Planning Commission and are part of National Development Plans for Namibia,” said the defence minister.
He also told parliament that his ministry should not be expected to explain the purposes and uses of every property or asset it acquires.
“There are government and national bodies that are privy to defence information and are given such information according to established procedures,” he added.