Air Namibia board resigns, blasts Jooste

04 February 2021 | Transport



Less than a week after committing Air Namibia to a last-ditch settlement agreement worth N$178 million, which the shareholder claims to not have endorsed, all four of the national airline’s board members tendered their immediate resignations yesterday.

They are Escher Luanda, Heritha Muyoba, Willy Mertens and presidential pilot Alois Nyandoro.

Last Friday, the board reached a last-minute settlement agreement with Belgian company Challenge Air, which applied to the High Court for the liquidation of Air Namibia.

As part of that deal, the national airline has two weeks to cough up N$104 million.

Air Namibia will then pay monthly instalments of N$12.1 million until January 2022.

At the end of the payment period, the airline will have paid about N$226 million.

Both the ministers of finance and public enterprises said they were not privy to the content of the settlement agreement and did not consent to its granular details.

But prior to resigning late yesterday, the board had earlier issued a sharp-worded public statement in which it accused government of sidestepping it in key decisions.

The board said it had proposed a slim operating model that would avoid the likelihood of liquidation while also preserving the jobs of at least half its workforce.

Challenge Air filed for the airline’s liquidation over a debt of N$175 million stemming from a cancelled lease of a defective Boeing 767 aircraft Air Namibia had leased in 1998.

Air Namibia’s board said government - through the public enterprises ministry - made its fiduciary duties hard to execute.

“The board has, over a significant part of its tenure, had to endure the usurping of its functions by the state as shareholder, which is not consistent with sound state-owned enterprise governance,” the statement read.


According to the board, government bypassed it to directly engage employees and trade unions, and negotiated contracts without its knowledge.

Government reportedly also procured advisory services on behalf of the company and managed the appropriated budget earmarked for the company without the involvement of the board, it said.

The Air Namibia board also questioned why the ministry withheld N$948 million in funding availed to the national carrier, adding that no brief was provided on how the money should be allocated other than a monthly allocation for employee salaries.

“These are unfortunate instances that fly in the face of good corporate governance and have made it extremely difficult for the board to execute its fiduciary role,” it said.

Allegations challenged

Public enterprises minister Leon Jooste denied the board’s allegations.

“The ministry of public enterprises has not negotiated with employees or unions. Cabinet instructed the Cabinet Committee on Treasury (CCT) to engage the unions on potential future scenarios for the airline and this was done in a meeting where a number of CCT members was present and the meeting was in fact chaired by the minister of finance as the chair of CCT.

According to him, the ministry could further not withhold funds from Air Namibia unilaterally and can only do so in consultation with Treasury.

“An appropriate restructuring will be done in the best interest of the state,” he said.

Similar News


Vivo Energy Namibia rewards top retailers

15 hours ago | Transport

Staff reporter Vivo Energy Namibia, the marketer and distributor of Shell branded petroleum and lubricant products in Namibia, recognised and rewarded top performing retailers...

Swakop tracks cleared after accident

6 days ago - 09 April 2021 | Transport

IRENE-MARI VAN DER WALT SWAKOPMUND The scene of the railway crash in...

Americans seek N$2.3bn payment for aircraft lease

2 weeks ago - 29 March 2021 | Transport

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKGovernment is busy negotiating terms of paying N$2.3 billion for two aircraft leased from an American company by liquidated Air Namibia.Air Namibia was officially...

Westair denies Geingos, Jooste links

1 month - 11 March 2021 | Transport

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKWestair has denied being linked to First Lady Monica Geingos, saying she does not own any shareholding in the company.It also refuted allegations that...

No Air Namibia creditor to be favoured

1 month - 10 March 2021 | Transport

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKNot one single creditor will enjoy an advantage over the other, with Air Namibia’s liquidation now finalised, public enterprise minister Leon Jooste has said.This...

Westair to fly to Rundu, Katima Mulilo

1 month - 09 March 2021 | Transport

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKLocal airline Westair is expanding its services to Rundu and Katima Mulilo, and increasing the frequency of its flights to Ondangwa from Windhoek's Eros...

Taxi union wants 10% increase

1 month - 05 March 2021 | Transport

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKThe taxi union wants a 10% increase in taxi fares, effective 15...

TransNamib introduces cost-cutting system

1 month - 04 March 2021 | Transport

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKTransNamib expects its newly-developed train operation management system that to increase operational efficiency and cut costs.The Transportation Management System (TMS) will replace the TransNamib...

Govt owes Air Namibia N$4m in unpaid flight tickets

1 month - 03 March 2021 | Transport

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKGovernment offices, agencies and ministries owe the bankrupt Air Namibia N$4.14 million in unpaid tickets.Of this, N$2.14 million is unlikely...

Uproar over Mberirua’s N$650k payout

1 month - 02 March 2021 | Transport

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKAir Namibia’s interim CEO Theo Mberirua -who worked for the airline for just over eight months - will walk away...

Latest News

Credit uptake unresponsive to low...

15 hours ago | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUDespite the repo rate being at a historical low of 3.75% to making borrowing attractive, credit uptake by businesses and households remain weak.Private sector...

GIPF increases pension benefits by...

15 hours ago | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUThe Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) announced a 3% pension benefit increase, effective 01 April 2021 for all GIPF pensioners.In the current volatile economic...

Clearing agents fail Namra test

15 hours ago | Economics

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKLess than 20% of the clearing agents who sat for the mandatory competency test to obtain certification passed the test.There are currently 343 active...

Villagers retaliate by eating locusts

15 hours ago | Agriculture

TUYEIMO HAIDULAOSHAKATIThe arrival of massive swarms of locusts in northern Namibia, especially in the Kavango West and East, Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions, has been a...


15 hours ago | Justice

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKRape accused healthcare worker Dennis Noa will be moved to the Seeis police holding cells outside Windhoek, Magistrate Johannes Shuuveni ordered yesterday at the...

Otjiwarongo Municipality's budget approved

15 hours ago | Economics

The Otjiwarongo Municipality’s local authority councillors on Tuesday approved the municipality’s 2021/22 capital and expenditure budget of more than N$131 million during a special council...

Our conflict diamonds

15 hours ago | Opinion

Our diamonds have become conflict diamonds. Conflict in the local definition which implies the scramble to enrich well-connected people.The tender to valuate Namdia diamonds was...

Child-slapping boy in Outapi court...

15 hours ago | Crime

TUNOHOLE MUNGOBAONGWEDIVAOmusati police have confirmed the arrest of a 17-year-old who was seen in a video clip assaulting a five-year-old girl.The video has gone viral...

Vivo Energy Namibia rewards top...

15 hours ago | Transport

Staff reporter Vivo Energy Namibia, the marketer and distributor of Shell branded petroleum and lubricant products in Namibia, recognised and rewarded top performing retailers...

Load More