PDM's Muharukua questions Shanghala’s Guardian Fund intentions

PDM's Muharukua questions Shanghala’s Guardian Fund intentions
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Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) lawmaker Vipuakuje Muharukua has questioned the intentions of former Justice Minister Sacky Shanghala to have greater control of the N$1,8 billion state-run Guardian Fund.
Shanghala also wanted to have oversight of inheritance money under private care.
The purpose of the Guardian Fund is to protect the monies of persons lacking legal competence and capacity, undetermined and absent heirs and certain untraceable persons.
At present, the fund is administered by the Master of the High Court.
Muharukua raised the concern in the National Assembly recently when he put a plethora of questions to acting Justice Minister Frans Kapofi who replaced Shanghala after resigning for his role in the Fishrot scandal involving millions of dollars in public funds.
Not so long ago, as the minister overseeing the Justice Ministry, according to Muharukua, Shanghala wanted to amend the law through the Administration of Estates Act of 2018 to give himself [or any Justice Minister] more powers over the fund.
Muharukua said it is a dangerous precedent to give ministers discretionary powers over the country’s resources as it creates room for abuse, racketeering and outright theft.
He was referring to how the fisheries law was changed in 2016 to give Bernhard Esau – the then Fisheries Minister - powers to single-handedly allocate fishing quotas.
He then asked if money from the Guardian Fund has been invested with any private entity other than ordinary commercial banks, for example, with an asset management company.
“If so, in which company has such money been invested? When was the money invested, the date? How much was invested? What type of investments were chosen for this money?” Muharukua asked, before questioning the procurement processes that were followed.
He further queried: “What safeguard, insurance or securities are put in place to protect such public funds from loss or even blatant theft?”
If any, Muharukua also wanted to know the returns on investment that the investment monies have yielded over the years.
Last year, The Namibian newspaper reported that Investec Asset Management controls N$300 million from the Guardian Fund.
Former Investec Asset Management Namibia managing director James Hatuikulipi, Shanghala, Esau and suspended client manager Ricardo Gustavo were arrested in November for their roles in a fishing bribery scandal in which more than N$150 million is involved.
They are currently behind bars awaiting trial.