THE Ombudsman is cracking down on the state-owned August 26 holdings company for lagging in providing its annual financial reports despite guzzling billions of state funds.
The Ombudsman in its annual report for 2020 stated that one of the leaders of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) and Member of Parliament, Nico Smith, lodged a complaint alleging that while August 26 is a wholly owned government enterprise, it has never published audited financial reports to the National Assembly
as required by law since its establishment in 1998.
This, added Smith, is despite the fact that August 26 and its subsidiaries have been recipients of multimillion dollar government contracts.
After conducting an investigation into the complaint, the Ombudsman found that August 26 has been immune to public scrutiny and internationally recognised standards of accounting and reporting, as the enterprise has neither appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, nor has it been audited by the Auditor-General.
The Ombudsman further noted that if in fact the Auditor-General has carried out an audit at August 26, those reports
have never been publicly disclosed.
“On the specific complaint of Mr Smith, I find that the consecutive boards of August 26 Holding Company (Pty) Ltd failed since its incorporation on 14 August 1998 to submit annual reports to the portfolio ministers. In the event they did, then the portfolio ministers failed to submit these annual reports to the National Assembly.
I find it necessary and desirable for the reasons set out above to recommend that the above matters and others be fully investigated,” the Ombudsman’s report said.
In the report, the Ombudsman recommended that the Minister of Public Enterprises takes appropriate action or steps to remedy or correct these matters by directing a special investigation to be conducted in relation to failings and other matters concerning the business, trade, dealings affairs, assets or liabilities of the defaulting public enterprises as per section 25 of Act 1 of 2019.
The Ombudsman further noted that its office and the public should be notified on the outcomes of the investigations.
August 26 has since its inception been accused of misappropriating public funds and covering corruption under the guise of national security.
August 26 is 100% owned by the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs.
The defense ministry is the shareholding ministry on behalf of the government of the Republic of Namibia.