Namibia: Land Sales to Be Legalised | Land Portal
Language of the news reported: 
English

By: Shinovene Immanuel
Date: February 23rd 2016
Source: AllAfrica.com / The Namibian

Urban and rural development minister Sophia Shaningwa said an investigation into land sales at Okahandja had uncovered serious irregularities in the manner the municipality dished out plots.

She, however, said some of the illegal transactions will be legalised while others will be nullified.

Shaningwa said this in the National Assembly last week when she answered questions about several local authority issues, including brief findings of an investigation last year that was done by her ministry into the affairs at Okahandja.

She said irregularities at Okahandja involved selling and registering property without council resolutions or the minister's consent or both.

Some of those land deals that were investigated included well-known individuals such as former youth minister Kazenambo Kazenambo, former mayor of Okahandja Valerie Aron, and Okahandja constituency councillor Steve 'Biko' Booys.

Shaningwa did not specify the names of the culprits but said other irregularities found include registering property while the purchase prices had not been paid in full and the allocation of plots to more than one person.

"These deals are illegal and there must be a way to legalise them and where it is found to be impossible or not appropriate, [they] will be nullified," she said, adding that this problem is not only confined to Okahandja nor were they only done when former mayor Aron was in charge.

She said the investigations also found that Okahandja does not have a filing system of properties which makes it difficult to get information on properties.

As a result, Shaningwa directed the municipality to compile a property register of all properties at the town. Vacant land should also be recorded, she said.

She told the municipality to create files of each land transaction which includes the history of the property, application letter, business plans, if any, council resolution, ministerial approval, allocation letter, deed of sale and purchasing receipt.

The minister also tasked the municipality to compile a list of properties sold without ministerial or council approval. The names of properties whose terms have lapsed because they were not paid for within specified deadlines will also have to be compiled, the minister said.

"These lists will be submitted to the attorney general's office for legal advice as to how the illegal sales can be dealt with," Shaningwa said.

Politician-turned businessman Kazenambo Kazenambo bought two erven measuring around 10 000 square metres for N$750 000 in 2012.

Information from the Ministry of Land Reform shows that erf 1195, which Kazenambo bought, is linked to a company named as Bonsec Investments Two Seven Four.

The industrial plot deal was agreed to on 13 April 2012 and completed in April 2014. Kazenambo insisted yesterday that he did not get it from the Okahandja municipality yet, despite proof of a deeds of sale obtained by The Namibian.

In fact, he feels violated since he followed all the procedures and said that his land did not require ministerial approval.

"Not all land deals in this country are supposed to go through the minister. I have not stolen any land. I am not a criminal. I am a victim," he said. Kazenambo said they must tell him what was irregular about his land purchase and urged the ministry to release the full report of the investigation for the public to see the exact findings to avoid generalisation of findings.

Swapo councillor Booys bought a residential plot in town measuring over 1 100 square metres for N$76 000. The plot is now mortgaged for close to N$600 000. Booys, whose deal was investigated, said he supports the minister's investigation since corrupt activities have been happening at Okahandja for too long.

He asked the minister to release the report. "Let it be made public so that we can account to those who elected us," he said.

Former Okahandja mayor Aron bought erf 466 measuring 1 800 square metres for N$92 000. The residential plot was mortgaged for over N$380 000. She declined to comment.

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Photo source: Alex Smith via Flickr/Creative Commons (CC By-NC-ND 2.0). Photo: © Alex Smith

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