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Walvis Bay determined to fight debt collectors

Written by on July 10, 2024

Walvis Bay residents say they will not tolerate RedForce Debt Management’s operations on behalf of the town’s municipality.

In a petition handed over to Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes yesterday, community member Elvis Goseb expressed his unhappiness about two previous petitions not being addressed.

He mentioned a town council meeting of 7 May, during which the management committee chairperson, Richard Hoaeb, recused himself when RedForce was discussed due to a possible conflict of interest.

Goseb said the community was unhappy that a meeting scheduled to discuss the debt-collecting agency’s operations was postponed three times, as some councillors deliberately did not attend.

“On the same date three councillors – Richard Hoaeb, Buddy Bramwell and Olivia Andrews – attended a management committee meeting to appoint a manager as acting chief executive, while senior general managers are available.

“Does it mean you do not have confidence in your senior managers? We believe the decision was deliberately made to pave the way for interference with the RedForce investigation.

“When the mayor is out of town, the deputy mayor stands in. You do not appoint ordinary councillors to stand in for you,” he said.

Goseb said the appointing of a manager to act as chief executive was suspicious, especially at a time that “dubious RedForce findings were leaked to the media”.

The group questioned the reinstatement of two suspended municipal staff members, finance general manager Frans !Gonteb and revenue and credit control manager Johanna Shidute, before the conclusion of the RedForce investigation.

Goseb said allowing RedForce to take readings, condusct disconnections and reconnections, and to perform other functions are unrelated to debt collection.

Appointed meter readers are receiving monthly salaries for “doing nothing”, he said.

The group added that they view a pledge of N$100 000 by RedForce to the mayoral fund shortly after it was awarded the tender as a token of gratitude.

“We are aware of non-compliance with the Local Authorities Act, of which a council resolution that approved a contract entered into does not exist, and that the process of the Procurement Act was not followed.

“We want the chairperson of the management committee, councillor Richard Hoaeb, and all councillors with an interest in RedForce to declare their interests, and they must step aside from council business.

“They must recuse themselves from discussions and meetings relating to Redforce until this matter has been concluded in a satisfactory manner,” he said.

The group demanded the removal or suspension of all officials implicated in the RedForce matter for the duration of the investigation.

They also demanded that the acting CEO be replaced by a general manager.

The group called for community consultations on matters of public interest as well.

They noted that culprits should be held personally liable for the council’s expenses in conducting audits and investigations.

Goseb said the findings of the final RedForce investigation report should be made public for transparency, to provide answers to questions raised and clarifications to previous, current and future public concerns over the RedForce matter.

The community also marched to RedForce’s offices at the town, where community member Christopher Kleinsmith handed over a petition to RedForce Walvis Bay acting manager Rachida Koch.

The post Walvis Bay determined to fight debt collectors appeared first on The Namibian.

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