NIP is lying, Katiti claims

10 June 2019 | Labour

Former Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) CEO Augustinus Katiti has accused the company of “spreading falsehoods” to mislead the public and defame him.

This followed a response by the NIP to an article in The Patriot newspaper which stated that a United States of America cybersecurity consulting and software developer was threatening to sue the NIP for N$200 million for default of payment.

The NIP responded with an advertisement in local newspapers, saying that the amount it owed was only N$2 million.

Katiti felt the advertisement was aimed at him. He claimed that five of the eight paragraphs in the media response were “falsehoods and defamatory allegations” made by the NIP board against him.

He added that it was “a painful reminder” that the directors of NIP had recently refused to grant salary increases to its staff members, but seemed to have money to squander on costly full-page advertisements and legal costs.

He criticised the board of directors' decision to suspend payments to the US company.

“The board of directors of NIP in their misplaced wisdom decided to suspend payments to a company that provided extremely important and very essential cybersecurity services.

“The board seems to be unfamiliar with the plain and simple facts that there are undeniably increased levels and frequency of highly sophisticated cyberattacks globally on companies and individuals.

“For example, the average global probability of a material breach in the next 24 months is 27.9%. In fact, South Africa, our biggest trading partner, has the highest probability of experiencing a data breach at 43%,” he said.

According to Katiti the NIP board was “penny wise and pound foolish” to suspend the payment of “a paltry US$136 324 to a vendor providing vital cyber security services”.

“In contrast, according to the 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study: Global Overview from IBM Security and Ponemon Institute, the global average cost of a data breach is US$3.86 million, considering the fact that the probability of malicious cyberattacks within the healthcare sectors is significantly higher than in other sectors,” he said.

According to him this “imprudence” by the directors is attributed to lack of experience in managing a company.

He charged that none of the NIP directors had ever managed a company with a turnover of more than N$2 million, or with a workforce of more than five employees.

“The turnover of NIP as at 31 March 2018 was over N$800 million with a workforce of over 450 employees. This is why the board is still too meddlesome in management issues, as they cannot differentiate between governance and management.”

JEMIMA BEUKES