The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has broken its silence on the saga involving its councillor Vezemba Rodman Katjaimo, distancing party leader McHenry Venaani from the failed European trip.
Responding to a New Era article yesterday, PDM secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe said his office is still trying to get to the bottom of the matter.
This is despite failing to respond to detailed questions sent to him last month.
PDM’s response also comes after lawmaker Vipuakuje Muharukua gave the party until next week Tuesday to pronounce itself, or else face unspecified action.
In the PDM corridors, talk is that Venaani may have benefited from the trip, hence his purported treatment of Katjaimo with kid gloves.
Both Venaani and the party vehemently deny this.
In fact, he only got to know about the trip after it surfaced in the media last month.
Venaani has purposely decided not to be involved in the investigation to avoid any conflict of interest brought about by his family ties to Katjaimo, who is also the Katutura Central constituency councillor.
“In conclusion, we take strong offence to the journalist claiming that the PDM president is involved without substantiating how he is involved in the matter, and subsequently not providing the PDM president with a chance to speak on such a serious allegation,” Ngaringombe said in a statement yesterday.
PDM has since appointed a committee to investigate their councillor.
Katjaimo, the chief orchestrator of a European trip which never materialised, is expected to provide a comprehensive report by next Monday.
Chaired by Ngaringombe, other committee members include Esmerelda !Aebes, parliamentarians Hidipo Hamata and Maximalliant Katjimune.
He promised to decisively deal with the politician, if he is found wanting.
“As a champion of the rule of law, [we] will never tolerate and cover up any corrupt activity, and we will without fear or favour deal with the councillor as per the movement’s constitution and internal processes if the allegations against him are found to be true,” he affirmed.
Katjaimo had organised a scheme that saw 198 people pay N$65 000 each, with an understanding that they would be attending the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
At least N$12.9 million was collected by him in the process. The payments varied.
Some funds were paid directly into Katjaimo’s personal bank account, while others were deposited into an account created for the trip.
The funds were to cater for air tickets, lodging and subsistence while in England.
The trip never succeded.
In the past, PDM has been swift in dealing with its politicians linked to dodgy dealings or improper conduct.
A case in point was when it suspended its then SG Vincent Kanyetu for five years in 2015 when he was embroiled in corruption deals involving party properties.
This forced Kanyetu to jump ship, joining the All People’s Party, where he occupies the same position he held at PDM.
In 2020, PDM withdrew and expelled its regional council candidate Hafeni Mafita over racial slurs which he refused to withdraw.
This is not the case with Katjaimo, who is a blood relative of party leader Venaani.
He stands accused of using public office for speculation, self-gratification, human trafficking and outright theft.