Evidence is beginning to surface that the scheme orchestrated by the Katutura Central constituency councillor Vezemba Rodman Katjaimo to ship Namibians to Europe was never intended for the Commonwealth Games but instead to seek asylum.
This assertion comes from non-other than the maligned organiser of the trip.
This emerged through a widely circulated screenshot of a conversation between Katjaimo and a participant in the failed jaunt.
Katjaimo did not refute the conversation.
Seen by New Era, the participant seeks clarity from the councillor on the contents of a proposed settlement agreement.
“Your contract does not make sense at all. How can you decide for us about your contract[?] We must first read the contract and understand what it is saying,” the concerned participant allegedly wrote to Katjaimo.
“You can’t wake up and draft something on your own. Okay. You have our money. We don’t owe you anything. There must be [an] agreement between us. 65k is a lot of money. [It] is not a joke, so don’t play with our money.”
He purportedly replied: “Don’t wake up and write sh*@ to me while you know very well that you wanted to use me to go seek asylum in [the] UK [and] when sh*@ hit the fan, you turned against me… we will have a settlement agreement. Are you guys that illiterate not to understand what such agreement entails?”
When this conversation was put to Katjaimo yesterday, he simply replied: “No comment. Write whatever you want”.
In another audio clip making rounds on social media, believed to be Katjaimo, he can be heard offering to reimburse the participants if they agree to never challenge him in court or report him to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
According to him, Satguru – one of the travel agencies used on the trip – agreed to pay back a certain amount.
But first, the participants must sign a settlement agreement with Katjaimo or face him in court, it is said.
He continues, saying the funds are expected this week.
“I have a serious challenge hanging over my head. There are people among you who want to open a case against me over this thing. My position is to face those people in court. And if we are going to meet in court, why should I give you your money now? We must wait for the court to pronounce itself,” Katjaimo can be heard asserting.
Around February this year, Katjaimo – through his office – facilitated a trip to Birmingham, England, for the Commonwealth Games.
At face value, it appears, Namibians were going to support local athletes such as sprint sensation Christine Mboma and others who carried the national flag to the quadrennial international multi-sport event.
Now, however, it is becoming clear that the event was simply a decoy by desperate asylum seekers.
At least 80% of the participants, who each paid N$65 000 for the trip, are unemployed, with most without any form of tertiary qualifications.
In some instances, participants sold all their belongings just to go and “watch the games”.
One of the participants, 44-year-old Karitondo Metirapi died from suspected stress-induced cardiomyopathy last week. Metirapi represented the participants in their quest to recover their monies from Katjaimo.
“He [Katjaimo] has our money. He must just pay us in full. If there are penalties for the cancellation of flight tickets, it is fine; we will take the punch. He must also give us evidence that he really spent our money on the things he claims,” Metirapi said in his last interview with New Era.
It is alleged that Metirapi could not fathom the thought of losing his hard-earned N$65 000 just like that.
He sold his house [business] and other belongings in Otjinene to allegedly finance the trip.
He had nothing to turn back to.
Metirapi was wheelchair-bound following a car accident in June 2016.
He spent four months in ICU and two more in the hospital.
Through Katjaimo’s scheme, 198 people paid N$65 000 each, totalling around N$12.9 million.
The games ended with none of the 198 participants setting foot in England, as the trip never materialised due to tight immigration laws and red flags.
Yesterday, Katjaimo was expected to submit a comprehensive report to the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) – his political home – on what actually transpired.
The PDM is investigating the councillor, who stands accused of using public office for self-gratification, theft, money laundering and possible human trafficking.
Katjaimo later yesterday replied, claiming some participants wanted to use the genuine trip to the United Kingdom as a pretext, while their aim was to seek asylum in Europe.
“[The] British border force caught the people you claim to [be] my victims red-handed with fake documents... what were their intentions? Ask them... why do you sell your last cow to go watch the Commonwealth Games?” Katjaimo wanted to know.
Katjaimo then went on to attack the character of this journalist over the probe: “If you think you can use anything to destroy me, remember the what goes around comes around... remember that you a drunkard of note.”