Govt urged to be transparent on Geingob funeral spending

The Namibian government must still disclose the full details of its expenditure on president Hage Geingob’s state funeral, raising questions about transparency and accountability in the handling of public funds.

Political parties and analysts have raised concerns regarding the lack of transparency around the overall expenditure of the government on various services related to the funeral.

Affirmative Repositioning spokesperson George Kambala demands that the information be released as in the past with other state and heroes’ funerals.

“The money spent on the funeral was not from an insurance funeral policy, it’s state funds.

They must also be transparent. We deserve that information.

“If they were able to issue a statement on who gave what during the time of mourning, they can also make the spending report public,” he says.

Independent Patriots for Change spokesperson Imms Nashinge says there is currently no reason to question spending, but for the sake of transparency the government should “do the right thing and inform the public”. “They have to explain which budget vote the money came from, because for veterans, we know where the money comes from. Since it is the first time we have lost a sitting president, it is about time we put in place standards so that in future we could have clarity on how things are done,” he says.

Popular Democratic Movement secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe says the party wants answers and will enquire about this on Tuesday when the parliament convenes.

Institute for Public Policy Research executive director and political analyst Graham Hopwood has also called for transparency on the cost of Geingob’s funeral arrangements.

“The funds came from the national budget, possibly the contingency fund, so they will have to be accounted for.

In the interest of transparency, it would be better if this could be done within the next few months rather than having to wait for a future budget, which includes past expenditure, or for an auditor general’s report, which could take several years,” he says.

Ministry of Information and Communication Technology spokesperson Shoki Kandjimi yesterday redirected questions to the Office of the Prime Minister.

“Our executive director has advised that you contact the Office of the Prime Minister directly, because they are the head of all state funeral budgets,” he said.

Responding to further queries, the executive director in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ben Nashandi, said the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology was mandated by the Cabinet to speak on matters related to the funeral.

Information minister Emma Theofelus during a public briefing admitted to the absence of an exact figure for the government’s expenditure on memorial and funeral activities, although a provisional budget was allocated to Geingob’s funeral. “The expenditure keeps going back and forth. No amount has been put as a cap. At this point in time we are not so sure how much has been spent so far, because we are constantly spending on the needs as they arise,” she said at the time.

She said the reconciliation would be made available after Geingob’s burial.

Last week, an advertisement was published by the government, expressing gratitude to various countries, local corporate entities, and individuals for their contributions to the state funeral.

Among the contributions were Angola’s provision of 20 ‘very important person’ (VIP) vehicles, VIP tents, and planes for fly-pasts, Botswana’s donation of VIP vehicles and 40 motorbikes, and Zambia’s contribution of technical assistance and personnel, including military support for funeral planning.

Local businesses, including Namdia, Coca-Cola Namibia, Debmarine Namibia, Namibia Dairies, NamWater, Ohlthaver & List, and B2Gold also provided essential items such as water, juice, and food.

Additionally, several vehicle sales companies donated vehicles for VIP usage.

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