RA executives charged over ‘inflated’ N$16m vehicle deal

Roads Authority chief executive officer Conrad Lutombi

Two top executives from the Roads Authority (RA) are being charged following accusations of inflating a vehicle-purchasing tender worth N$16 million.

The two executives are the RA’s transportation executive officer, Sidney Boois and divisional manager Richard Milinga.

RA chief executive Conrad Lutombi has confirmed an internal investigation into both.

Boois and Milinga are expected to answer to the accusations during a disciplinary hearing.

“The investigations have already been completed, and we are in the process of disciplinary action. I cannot comment further.
“If they are found guilty, our disciplinary policy would apply,” Lutombi says.

The tender was issued last year.

It was for the purchase of 17 vehicles for the parastatal’s road safety unit.

The vehicles included motorcycles, pickups, and Volkswagen Polo GTIs.

However, the price of the vehicles appeared to be inflated, raising the alarm.

Sources indicate that one pickup, priced at N$1,2 million, significantly exceeded its showroom value of N$800 000 at Windhoek’s vehicle dealerships.

Lutombi blocked the purchase of the vehicles after realising it was not in line with the parastatal’s procurement rules and ordered an investigation.

When approached for comment yesterday, Boois said: “I am aware of the internal audit process which was instituted at a time to review the initial submission for procurement of law enforcement vehicles, which is a standard process.

“No vehicles were procured through the first submission and proposed method, however, after a subsequent reviewed submission was made and another procurement process proposed, the law enforcement vehicles were procured.”

Milinga yesterday declined to comment when contacted.

RA spokesperson Hileni Fillemon says investigations have been finalised and some of the individuals implicated are currently subjected to a disciplinary hearing.

“Thus, the RA respectfully declines to provide further details or comments to the media until all internal processes are completed and finalised.

“We value transparency and understand the public’s interest in our operations.

“Hence, rest assured we are taking appropriate steps to address this matter internally and uphold our organisation’s policies and values.

“Should there be any developments that are suitable for public disclosure, we will ensure timely communication through our official channels,” she says.

The Namibian has obtained an internal email from sources inside the RA, which shows the company has summoned two witnesses to testify on the events concerning the tender.

Last year, The Namibian reported that Lutombi issued a directive to stop the procurement process of the vehicles and directed the road safety unit to consult procurement management on the correct procurement method.

He did this in addition to directing an internal audit to probe whether the correct procedure and process were followed.

Some of the vehicles were allegedly delivered to the RA’s head office in Windhoek, which is what alerted Lutombi to the questionable deal.

At the time, Fillemon said no purchase was made and that it merely involved a request for quotations extended.

It then came to light that the RA’s procurement rules were allegedly not followed.

No public tender was advertised, nor was the fleet management department involved in the transaction.

According to Fillemon, normal procedure is when respective business units and divisions identify their needs, including vehicle specifications, and are required to draft a submission to the RA’s procurement management committee for endorsement.

If supported by the procurement committee, submissions are then sent to the chief executive’s office for approval or disapproval.

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