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Conservancy fires manager for alleged theft

Monday, December 17, 2007
Absalom Shigwedha
The Namibian

THE co-ordinator of the Tsiseb Conservancy in the Erongo Region, Eric Xaweb, was fired by conservancy members last week for alleged misappropriation of conservancy funds.

Xaweb was suspended with full pay in September.

At a hearing held at the Tsiseb Conservancy offices at Uis on Thursday, a number of charges against Xaweb were read out by Zeka Alberto, a lawyer from the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC).

The LAC's Alberto is helping conservancies with drafting their constitutions and entering into joint ventures with private tourism operators.

Among other things, Xaweb was accused of falsifying signatures in order to get access to conservancy funds and of paying conservancy cheques into his own account.

It is believed that about N$200 000 of the conservancy's money is unaccounted for.

Two other conservancy committee members, Bertha Jatta (a cleaner) and Richard Kahijeve (a game guard), were also investigated on charges that they had cashed conservancy cheques at Xaweb's instruction.

The conservancy's constitution does not allow them to handle money.

Mark Holker, a volunteer development worker with the Namibia Association for Community-Based Support Organisations (Nacso), who chaired the hearing, said it was clear that Xaweb had abused his position to misappropriate conservancy funds.

After the hearing, a meeting was held to brief conservancy members them on the findings.

They decided to dismiss Xaweb.

Maxi Louis of the Nacso Secretariat said Xaweb has the right to appeal against the decision.

Alberto said because Jatta and Kahijeve had merely acted on Xaweb's instructions, there was no strong case against them.

They were cautioned and placed on probation for six months.

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