….PwC unearths many involved in City Police disarray
By Fikameni Mathias
With an array of loopholes discovered in the City’s regulations and a high number of officials defying the laws they have sworn to protect and uphold, suspended City Police Chief Abraham Kanime is just one of many employees who have either flouted protocol, personnel rules or neglected their call of duty.
The battle of egos backed up by administrative flaws at the City of Windhoek (CoW) led to the suspension of Kanime in March 2018 on allegations of mismanagement and ignoring the city hierarchy.
Suspended CoW Chief Executive Officer Robert Kahimise had requested PwC to assist the CoW in conducting a forensic investigation into possible irregularities relating to procurement of legal practitioners’ services and the receipt and deposit of cash at the City Police for the period from 1 July 2017 to 20 July 2018.
Kanime was temporarily shown the door for allegedly accessing the city purse to fund his legal team to defend his case against the same body. This is amongst other allegations of neglecting his call of duty, serving his close proxies with upper positions and not acting within the rule of law.
In a final report on the forensic investigations into possible irregularities relating to the procurement of legal practitioners’ services and the receipt and deposit of cash, submitted by PwC to the City CEO Kanime was found wanting on some accounts, but there where many others found in the wrong too.
The report brought to light that Senior Superintendent Pahukeni Titus instructed payment to be processed without valid appointment letters. No appointment letters could be provided for a number of cases, resulting in potential unauthorised payments of N$446,709.30.
No appointment letter could be provided for the appointment of Sisa Namandje & Co. Incorporated, the legal firm which represented Chief Kanime in his case against the Council. Due to the lack of an appointment letter from the CEO or his delegate, it would appear that the payments made to Sisa Namandje & Co.
Incorporated on this matter amounting to N$80,575.00 were unauthorised. The audit also finds Kanime to have failed to review and evaluate expenditure requests by his subordinates as required in his job description.
A number of appointment letters could also not be provided for matters such as Fabian Sheefeni vs The Council of the Municipality of Windhoek as well as Annie-Marie Wentzel vs The Council of the Municipality of Windhoek.
In terms of the Municipal Council of Windhoek: Personnel Rules: Local Authorities Act, 1992 (Personnel Rules) the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) may approve legal aid to be provided to a staff member at the CoW’s cost, in the event that a staff member is facing either a criminal or civil case, which originated from an event whilst on official duty. Employees will be responsible to repay CoW in the event they are found guilty in a criminal case.
The Personnel Rules only makes an exception for offences that occur whilst the staff member is executing his or her duties.
The audit recommended that CoW Management, after consulting with their legal representatives and acting solely on their advice, consider initiating disciplinary action against Superintendent Reiter Nambinga for failing to obtain authorisation from Chief Kanime for payment requisitions yet indicating on the payment requisition that authorisation was provided by the ‘Chief’.
The City Police office receives payments from the public through offences such as parking and speeding tickets, camera footage, by-law contraventions and summonses. The audit also showed flaws in deficiencies in the cash handling and recording.
On the date of the report, an interview was not conducted with Chief Kanime to establish whether he reported the unresolved deficiency in cash to the Management Committee.
This was because Kanime cited his right to reserve responses to questions posed by the PwC team. Also, PwC noted that for 27 November 2017 no cash up reports, Armed Banking Division sheet or deposits could be provided. However, they traced a merchant summary of all swift payments made on the day amounting to N$12,175.00. Sergeant Thomas Numwe could not provide the daily cash up report for 27 November 2017 nor supporting documents consisting of the deposit slip and the Armed Banking Division sheet.
PwC observed that there is a lack of review of the daily cash up reports and inadequate segregation of duties between the individual recording the payment transactions, performing the cash up, completing the deposit slips and handing over the money to Namibia Protection Services (NPS). Due to the lack of review and segregation of duties the risk of non-detection of fraudulent activities is increased.
This translates to the reality that there is no management oversight over the handling of cash. Sergeant Numwe and Superintendent Nambinga, as required in the Finance Policy do not resolve discrepancies noted in the cash ups.
For the period reviewed, there are unexplained differences between the cash recorded on Total Client System (TCS) and the cash deposited into the City of Windhoek FNB bank account amounting to N$91,279.00 which represents a potential financial loss to the City of Windhoek.
PwC recommended that the CoW management constitute disciplinary action against Senior Superintendent Gerry Shikesho, who is responsible for the finance department at the City Police, for not ensuring compliance by his subordinates to the financial policy, by not resolving cash shortages and surpluses and for not reporting the unresolved deficiencies to the Management Committee and against Chief Kanime who is responsible for the overall operational control as per his job description.
The report highlighted that Superintendent Shikesho’s job description was unsigned for his role as Head of Human Resource and Finance.
The suspended City top cop (Kanime) has long accused Kahimise, who is currently also on suspension for unfair treatment following his own suspension, saying the move to axe him was personal.