Several months into an aggressive campaign to obtain the exact details on how N$18 million of taxpayers money was spent to buy a property for the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA)-which at least four property valuators say was inflated by N$13 million- government investigators are in hot pursuit of the cash and have since trailed how the money was spent by the seller.
The Patriot can also reveal that while the probe into how suspended BIPA chief executive officer Tileinge Andima endorsed an over the top payment for the property without board approval, a transaction that also involved the usage of a Section 21 company that the board had resolved to dissolve before the transaction was concluded.
Andima, who is due to retire next year, could go into retirement without a penny if he is found guilty.
Two senior government officials close to the matter said Andima, who is the central figure in the transaction, has sought audience with the board this week to discuss the option of him resigning. On Tuesday this week Andima’s disciplinary hearing was scheduled to begin however he claimed to be a victim of double jeopardy. His claim of victimhood is now expected to be heard at a Conciliation meeting next week at the Labour Court. Should that claim be dismissed Andima is expected to be hauled in front of his board in the long awaited disciplinary hearing.
Over the years, top executives under suspension have developed a tendency of resigning while investigations were ongoing to avoid punitive measures for their wrong actions.
In the last few weeks, details have emerged about how Windhoek couple, Hilma and Martin Shilengudwa began negotiations with BIPA for the sale of the property. Throughout the negotiations, they maintained that their property price will not be dictated by property valuations.
Mr. Shilengudwa stated that he was approached by BIPA in 2011 to sell his property but at the time indicated that it was not for sale, but he offered it to BIPA on a lease basis. This was agreed upon and a five-year lease deal was entered into between the two parties in 2012.
BIPA leased the property for N$65 000 monthly.
In 2017, BIPA once more made advancements to buy the plot, however, the Shilengudwa’s were still not ready to sell because they were still in the process of acquiring the adjacent erf.
They offered to instead extend the lease period.Shilengudwa at the time told BIPA that his property will not be subjected to any valuation and that he at all times take the willing seller willing buyer approach.
He also told BIPA that he was previously approached by an Egyptian who offered to buy the property for N$22 million to set up a diamond polishing factory.
The Shilengudwa’s, according to our source, allegedly justified the price they wanted for the plot saying it was driven by the estimated future projection that BIPA will derive from the sale of the plot because it has growth potential and it is located in a commercial area.
Apparently, they also highlighhted the goodwill of their business that they have lost by closing down their previous entertainment business to lease the property to BIPA as well as their monthly loss of income as pensioners that they could have generated from the proceeds of future rent justifies the multimillion dollar price tag.
The owners refused the offer despite minutes from the board’s Finance Risk Management and Audit Committee dated 25 March 2014 indicating that Andima had received an offer from the sellers on 4 March 2014 in which they communicated that they are prepared to sell 644 square metres of the erf for the N$18 699.
This translates into N$12 million. Andima allegedly agreed with the offer saying it was “acceptable”.
In 2014 he settled for N$18 million, BIPA reverted in 2017 to resume negotiations for the purchase which signalled the commencement of the transfer process. This process was finalised on 31 August 2017.The money was subsequently transferred to his Bank Windhoek account. The same account he used to sustain his family, farm, employees as well as his medical expenses.
BIPA paid over N$60 000 in transfer duty costs to Ellis Shilengudwa Incorporated(ESI).
In 2017, Anti Corruption boss Paulus Noa confirmed an investigation into the BIPA property deal. It is believed that the matter is at an advance stage and the Office of the Prosecutor General is also involved. Efforts to obtain comment from the Anti Corruption Office proved futile as The Patriot sought to engage the authority on progress made to date.
According to a source who attended the disciplinary hearing this week, Shilengudwa instructed his bank to transfer some of the funds to Agribank(N$260 000), Pointbreak(N$2.9 million) and a few other suppliers.
In September 2017, he transferred N$13 million to his Capricorn Investment Account followed by a transfer of an unspecified amount to his daughter Anne Shilengudwa the following month.
The Shilengudwas are parents of lawyer, Anne Shilengudwa, whose law firm, ESI, handled the N$18 million transaction.Shilengudwa has since resigned from her law firm after the N$18 million transaction. She maintains that all conveyancing processes were followed.He also transferred N$880 000 to his wife and another N$104 000 to Agribank in October 2017.
ACC sources further told this reporter that on 28 January 2014 the BIPA board started discussions to buy the premises and subsequently resolved that Andima can engage the Shilengudwa’s.
However, the board rescinded that decision on 16 April 2014 when it resolved that “Andima should recuse himself from discussions on negotiations for the property as he is related to the owners”.
This is contained in a document seen by The Patriot.
Andima last year rubbished claims that he is related to the Shilengudwa’s.
“Look, I know these people because I used to be their client, this same property we are talking about used to be their bar and I used to drink beer there.
I know the whole family and I became friends with them overtime, but there are no family ties.
It is true that the idea to buy that property originated from me, but I declared knowing these people before a decision was approved.
Initially they wanted N$24 million, and I made a proposal and we later settled for N$18 million plus renovation funds.
“I did not personally benefit anything from this deal, people just talk,”Andima reportedly said in an interview with the Windhoek Observer last year.