Geingob Steals the Show
As campaigning geared up for the 2017 congress, high-ranking members of SWAPO used the network of businesses that had been siphoning off money from the fishing deal to mount a furious spending campaign to win over electors.
For a while, Celax was the primary conduit for the funds that were being siphoned off from the fishing deal. But in October 2017, the Ndilimani Trust — which had been set up by Hatuikulipi and Shanghala to serve as the party’s vehicle for collecting and distributing money — was finally registered. They planned for Celax to become integrated into Ndilimani. Still, Celax was used to make payments meant for Ndilimani during this period, since Ndilimani’s accounts hadn’t been set up yet.
Party payments moved through Celax’s account into and out of the party’s arms in 14 regions, emails and handwritten notes by party officials show. The notes suggest they were allocated to fund SWAPO’s campaigning.
A note written by Shanghala, titled “The Project 2017,” lists N$8.25 million in payments from Ndilimani including allocations of N$700,000 “@ N$50k per Region” and “N$5,000 per 15 pax per region.”
Large amounts of cash were withdrawn from Celax’s account just days before the party congress. A scribbled plan drawn up by Shanghala, titled “The Project 2017,” details N$700,000 (US$56,700) in cash payments earmarked for several of the party’s wings. The diagram detailed how, one month before the polls, Hatuikulipi would withdraw N$500,000 (US$35,300) in cash from Celax accounts. The lawyer close to the fishing deal said the cash was intended for electors at SWAPO’s congress.
Some of the election-related transfers were made under the guise of contributions to Ndilimani Trust’s cultural troupe, giving local SWAPO officials cover to receive money discreetly.
Some of the alleged bribes that moved through the account of Namandje, Geingob’s longtime lawyer, were also used for the 2017 party congress.
Namandje himself confirmed at least N$7.5 million (US$607,500) was spent on SWAPO’s 2017 congress, and that funds from Fishcor also flowed into his firm’s trust account earmarked for SWAPO in the 2019 elections.
SWAPO has lost moral ground — the voters now think we are all thugs who want to steal.
The former SWAPO secretary-general, Iivula-Ithana, said the congress was rigged. “Only a fool will accept what transpired at SWAPO’s 2017 congress,” she said.
Namibia’s former Prime Minister Nahas Angula, a top SWAPO official who lost his seat at the party congress, said accusations of vote rigging have hurt the party.
“SWAPO has lost moral ground — the voters now think we are all thugs who want to steal,” he told The Namibian. “We struggle to convince voters because they think we are just enriching ourselves.”