Source: https://www.namibian.com.na/73714/read/Hunting-operator-owes-conservancies-millions NGWENA Hunting Safaris owes five conservancies – Bamunu, Kabulabula, Kasika, Lusese and Salambala – in the Zambezi region millions of dollars. Kabulabula conservancy chairperson Leonard Masangu yesterday said Ngwena Hunting Safaris owes the five conservancies anything between N$10 and N$12 million. Masangu said Kavulavula is owed about N$1,5 million, while Bamunu conservancy chairperson Chunga Chunga said they are owed about N$1,4 million Wilko Pasheka who owns Ngwena Hunting Safaris yesterday said he would only comment on the matter today, while Masangu said they terminated their contract with the hunting operator and were pursuing payment. “Last year, he did not pay us and had an outstanding amount of about N$900 000. So we gave him time from January to September to pay. Then he only paid N$370 000, yet the contract states that the first instalment was supposed to be paid in February and the second one in July,” Masangu said. Chunga said the operator paid N$300 000, and promised to pay the rest on 15 December. “That's all I can reveal for now. We will discuss the issue in detail after the meeting,” Chunga said. Environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda last week told The Namibianthat the hunting operator said they could not pay because they have financial problems. As the custodian of conservation in the country, Muyunda further said, intervened to find a solution. According to Muyunda, the environment ministry convened the first meeting in June where the hunting operator agreed to a payment schedule but failed to adhere to it. After failing to pay as agreed, the environment ministry suspended the hunting operator's permits as per the conservancies' request. Muyunda said the hunting operator then enlisted a lawyer to negotiate with the environment ministry and then a second meeting was held in October. “Another proposal for a payment schedule was presented. During that meeting, Lusese and Kavulavula asked for time to consult, while the other three rejected the proposal,” he said. Muyunda added that Lusese and Kavulavula have since terminated the hunting operator's permit and the environment ministry has already advertised for a new operator. The other three conservancies have, however, agreed with the operator on another payment schedule without the ministry's involvement. “The ministry takes the concerns of the conservancies very seriously as this affects their operations and effectiveness. The ministry will assist the conservancies to recover the money they are owed,” Muyunda said.