On March 21, 2015, I took an oath by which I affirmed that I will strive to the best of my ability to uphold, protect and defend the Supreme Law the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, and to faithfully obey, execute and administer the laws of the Republic of Namibia.
In addition to the public oath that I took as Head of the Namibian House, article 42 of the Namibian Constitution states that, “During their tenure of office as members of the Cabinet [which I am heading], Ministers may not take up any other paid employment, engage in activities inconsistent with their positions as Ministers, or expose themselves to any situation which carries with it the risk of a conflict developing between their interests as Ministers and their private interests.”
In view of the aforesaid it is clear that in administering a Nation, one has to be transparent and accountable. It is for this reason that I have decided to declare my assets in public, for your scrutiny.
My track record as proponent of transparency and ethical behaviour in Government can be traced back to my first tenure as Prime Minister of Namibia, when I initiated a program to look into the issue of ethical behaviour in Government.
This was done in collaboration with the Attorney General Advocate Ruppel, later replaced by Advocate Rukoro, Ms. Advocate Bience Gawanas, who was the Ombudsman at that time and several prominent experts in the field of law and ethics. This initiative culminated in a well-attended conference which looked at various aspects such as corruption, theft, embezzlement and other unethical behaviour in Government.
Therefore it is not an idea that I latched onto recently, but it is an idea that I have carried with me for several decades. To set the scene for my declaration of my assets which focuses narrowly on my current asset base, I would like to provide some personal insights that led to the current status on my “personal net asset value.”
I understand the current milieu under which we find ourselves and the mammoth income disparity between the rich and poor, the haves and the have-nots. I am familiar with hardship in life. In 1962, I went into exile, entering Botswana and began working for the SWAPO Party.
While in Botswana, I ended up sleeping outside in the cold for one and a half years with only one blanket as cover. That time took its toll on me to the point where I have a very sensitive chest to this day.
I ended up in the United States of America in 1964, appointed by the Party leadership to be the SWAPO Representative in New York. While there, I carried out dual responsibilities of attending to SWAPO Party business while schooling on a scholarship of US$ 150.
I and Honourable Hidipo Hamutenya used our scholarship money to finance the publishing of the SWAPO Information Bulletin in the USA. This continued until my appointment to the United Nations Secretariat by SWAPO through Founding President Comrade Sam Nujoma in 1972 where I was employed on a salary grading of P2 - P3. This presented me an opportunity for the first time in my life to earn a decent income of about US$2,000 per month or roughly the equivalent of N$50,000 in today’s money.
Following this period, I was assigned to Lusaka, Zambia to set up and head the United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN) where I earned a D2 salary starting at US$ 141,550 per annum and ending at US$ 156,810 per annum since I was there for 14 years. This is equivalent to around N$ 1,900,000 at current value.
Given the salary scale, I asked the SWAPO Executive at the time what I should do with the money. I offered to give the salary to the Party and just use the allowance but I was told that I knew how to use it.
During this period I set up a fund, using money from my salary where all SWAPO members could contribute toward the cause of taking care of our veterans. Through this fund we managed to purchase artificial limbs for our injured comrades.
On my return to Namibia, I was appointed as Prime Minister, a position I held for 12 years before a two-year stint at the World Bank, at management level, where I received a monthly income of US$18,000 net per month, equivalent to N$ 216,000 at current value.
I was fortunate to take a good investment decision to buy a house in one of the affluent suburbs known as Potomac in Maryland for US$1.025 million, which I sold just prior to the sub-prime housing crisis for US$1.4 million. The profit derived from this sale obviously added to my asset base.
In addition to the house in the USA, I had also bought a plot in Windhoek earlier in 1989 at a price of N$ 500,000 totaling 12 hectares of which I sold 9 hectares to help me complete the building of my current house.
In 1992 I also purchased a farm for N$ 1.4 million now valued at N$ 4 to 5 million through a commercial loan.
However, as can be seen these are all fixed assets and does not mean that I did not experience cash flow problems. During most of this time I relied on temporary overdraft facilities until I sold the 39 as ordered by court as a settlement.
This is not an exercise I am undertaking in order to look holy. I am doing this due to my personal conviction.
I have the pleasure and honour to release the declaration of my personal assets. I will be handing one copy to Acting Chief Justice Damaseb, for filing in the Supreme Court and another to the Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Mr Paulus Noa for his scrutiny. Additional copies will also be made available to the media.
By His Excellency Dr Hage G. Geingob and Madam Monica Geingos, President and First Lady Of The Republic Of Namibia.