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Mayor spills beans on Lüderitz’ ‘amended’ books, ‘bribery’

Written by on June 6, 2024

Phil Balhao, the mayor of Lüderitz, says the town urgently needs the government’s intervention.

He told The Namibian this week that this is needed “if we want to secure opportunities for Lüderitz, especially in industrialisation efforts”.

“Our community is suffering at the expense of this [maladministration],” he said.

Balhao said the town has not received clean audit reports in many years.

Even after a directive was sent out by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, the Lüderitz Town Council still uses consultants, he said.

“Even after paying the consultants massive amounts of money to do our audits, we still get qualified audit opinions. When you look at the finer detail, you’ll see that figures are amended to make them look good,” he said.

Balhao said the council administration doesn’t allow for the smooth flow of information, because staff members refuse to cooperate.


“Day-to-day matters are neglected. You sent emails upon emails requesting information for investors who desperately need information and attention, and it takes months for them to get back to you,” he said.

Balhao said efforts have been made to get hold of the minister of urban and rural development, Erastus Uutoni, to intervene in these matters as the situation has become “dire”.

“We have such a long list of issues that really need their intervention,” he said.

He also took issue with the fact that only one person is allowed to make decisions per department, as this causes delays in service delivery.

“We need more than one signatory on our bank accounts, but still the financial manager is the only one who makes all decisions on his own and refuses to go to the bank and sign up additional signatories,” Balhao said.

“When it comes to procurement, you have one person who decides on the matters. The councillors have zero input,” he said.


Balhao said Lüderitz is currently experiencing a housing crisis.

“The council has resolved to provide social housing to the elderly, seven or eight houses, which were supposed to be constructed in the previous financial year. To date, not a single step has been taken.

“When it comes to the allocation of land, the administration will change resolutions after we’ve taken them, without our consent, after we’ve sent out communication to investors. This really complicates the process,” he said.


Staff members have been accused of taking bribes to ensure certain individuals obtain land.

“There have been allegations, and an investigation into the property department was done by Otto Shipanga, the acting chief executive of the town council.

“There was proof that a staff member received bribes to put some people ahead of others on the waiting list so they would benefit first in the allocation of land, but no action was taken against this individual.

“That’s fraud and that makes Shipanga an accomplice,” he said.

Balhao said he refuses to remain silent.

“As the mayor I would be an accomplice if I remained silent,” he said.

Lüderitz Town Council spokesperson Elwin !Goaseb says the mayor has not informed the council of the allegations.

“The council is not aware of any of these allegations, as the mayor never tabled these allegations or formerly brought them to the attention of the council,” he said yesterday.

“It is also important to note that the mayor is speaking in his personal capacity, and not as mayor or on behalf of the town council,” !Goaseb said.

He said the mayor’s allegations are false.

Shipanga was not available for comment when The Namibian reached out to him yesterday.

The post Mayor spills beans on Lüderitz’ ‘amended’ books, ‘bribery’ appeared first on The Namibian.

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