Fight between arts council over money escalates – Namibian

The President of the National Arts Council of Namibia (NACN), Patrick Sam, has dismissed allegations of corruption and mismanagement by former council member Litago/Nareeb who questioned the $100,000 payment to a craft center for a website that was never created.

Nareeb, who resigned from the board last week, asked why he would pay NZ$100k for a website for a company that doesn’t design websites.

“In my view, this is corruption because the Craft Center does not have any competence in web development and Ms. Shareen Thude is the General Manager of the Craft Center and Vice President of NACN. $100,000 for a website is much higher than the normal cost. Even after including photography, You can’t reach that amount.

“When I brought up the issue countless times with other board members, we were treated like troublemakers and told that this decision had been made. Even during mediation with the minister, the matter was defended as if I was just a disgruntled faction of the board,” he said in his resignation letter.

/ He also accused Narib Sam and the board of illegally and non-procedurally dissolving the Official Grants Committee and replacing it with a “superficial” structure.

“In this superficial and illegal structure, they looked at the grants and then Mr. Patrick Sam, President of NACN, submitted the grants for approval to the Board of Directors. While Mr. Patrick Sam, as Chairman, is allowed to attend any committee meeting, he is not allowed to dissolve committees and take on their responsibilities. Continue Mr. Sam is in saying that the documents have been sent to all board members, but that is not true.

I’ve checked with other board members and only received a few calls the day before the board meeting.”

Sam vigorously denied these allegations and accused Nareeb of malicious incompetence and bent on destroying the reputation of the council.

Sam also said that the council decided to respond to these allegations urgently and clarify the matter, because these allegations threaten the reputation of the institution, and character assassination and defamation of individuals cannot be tolerated.

He also said that when public trust erodes, their ability to secure funding for artists to improve the cultural and creative sector becomes more vulnerable.

NACN also acknowledges incidents of mismanagement as a direct result of a lack of capacity and human resources. Despite these gaps, NACN has been committed to supporting a culture of good governance principles and has submitted annual financial statements for the past nine years to the Office of the Auditor General.”

The standoff comes at a time when artists are complaining about the NZ$5.4 million arts relief fund being managed by NACN.


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