Kandjii-Murangi paid back money – ministry

Itah Kandjii-Murangi
…ACC had given minister April deadline to pay up

The executive director of higher education, training and innovation, Alfred van Kent, says minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi has fully paid off money she owed the ministry in travel allowances.

Paulus Noa, the director general of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), in January directed Kandjii-Murangi and her personal assistant, Lungenesia Uaseupuani, to pay back a collective N$69 000 of N$952 000 in travel allowances paid to them in 2022.

Noa had given the two until the end of April to repay taxpayers’ money.

“The minister has paid in full. That amount has been settled,” Van Kent says.

Kandjii-Murangi yesterday declined to comment on the matter.

“You spoke to the executive director,” she said before ending the call.

Uaseupuani yesterday said the matter is private and she did not make it public.

“Maybe you should ask whoever made it public,” she said.

Noa yesterday said he was in a meeting when contacted for comment, while a text message sent to him yesterday afternoon was not responded to.

Kandjii-Murangi has been under fire since last year for allegedly using state-owned entities to cover her travel allowances.
Although the ACC concluded that there was no evidence suggesting the minister knowingly claimed subsistence and travel (S&T) allowances from the ministry while trips or events were fully sponsored, Noa still insisted that the minister should reimburse the government.

“The minister and the personal assistant are advised, if they have not yet fully refunded the total amount due to the ministry, to pay the full amount on or before 30 April 2024,” the ACC says in its report.

Noa says the ACC obtained a statement in December last year from the acting chief accountant of the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation, Delinsia Garises, who informed the commission that Kandjii-Murangi owed the ministry N$46 100, while Uaseupuani owed N$23 400.

“This is an accumulated amount from different trips after travel claims were calculated and reconciled against the days and hours spent on the trips,” Noa says in the report.

Paulus Noa

The report says Kandjii-Murangi claimed a total of N$952 000 between May and August 2022.

This includes N$338 000 paid from the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) to the minister and her personal assistant to attend the five-day Education World Forum 2022 in London and Manchester in May 2022.

The NTA also paid N$140 700 for Kandjii-Murangi to travel to Malawi to attend a joint Southern African Development Community meeting of ministers of education and training, science, technology and innovation from 14 to 19 June 2022.

N$140 600 was paid by the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) to the higher education minister to attend a summit in South Korea in July 2022.

Noa says this money was fully paid back by the higher education ministry.

In the same month, Kandjii-Murangi received money from Nust.

She also requested N$310 400 from the University of Namibia for her trip to Jamaica and Cuba.

The ministry paid back that amount too, Noa says.

Kandjii-Murangi and Uaseupuani were also paid a collective N$22 800 by the Namibia National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) for their hotel accommodation in New York.

Noa says Kandjii-Murangi paid back a portion of this money.

The ACC says it has evidence that the minister had refunded the money paid to her and her personal assistant by the Namibia National Commission for Unesco for a night’s hotel accommodation in New York.

“A refund was also made for the local trip the minister undertook to Khorixas, which was as well paid for by the Namibia National Commission for Unesco,” Noa says in the ACC report.

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