Air Namibia board resigns, blasts Jooste

04 February 2021 | Transport

OGONE TLHAGE



WINDHOEK

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.

Interference

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

 

TransNamib introduces cost-cutting system

11 hours ago | 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 day - 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

2 days ago - 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...

Air Namibia pilots face bleak future

3 days ago - 01 March 2021 | Transport

FRANCOISE STEYNBERG WINDHOEKThe licences of at least 75% of Air Namibia’s pilots have expired,...

Govt silently files for liquidation

6 days ago - 26 February 2021 | Transport

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKGovernment on Monday silently filed for the liquidation of beleaguered national airline Air Namibia despite a massive public outcry over the matter.Documents seen by...

Air Namibia pilots face bleak future

6 days ago - 26 February 2021 | Transport

FRANCOISE STEYNBERGWINDHOEKThe licences of at least 75% of Air Namibia’s pilots have expired, according to the Namibia Airline Pilots Association (NAPA).Speaking on ‘Kletskompas’, NAPA president...

History will vindicate us – Jooste, Shiimi

1 week ago - 24 February 2021 | Transport

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKFinance minister Iipumbu Shiimi and public enterprise minister Leon Jooste are standing by a cabinet decision to liquidate Air Namibia.The ministers appeared on the...

Nevonga tells ministers off in heated meeting

1 week ago - 23 February 2021 | Transport

STAFF REPORTER WINDHOEKIn a heated meeting mediated by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Namibia Public Workers Union secretary-general Petrus Nevonga yesterday accused ministers...

No Challenge Air N$107m payment as deadline lapses

1 week ago - 19 February 2021 | Transport

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKLawyers of Belgian company Challenge Air said as of yesterday afternoon, they had neither received payment nor communication from Air...

Cabinet unshaken by liquidation demos

2 weeks ago - 18 February 2021 | Transport

STAFF REPORTER WINDHOEKCabinet is not retreating on its decision to liquidate Air Namibia, a...

Latest News

Otjikoto sitting on a gold...

11 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – B2Gold’s Otjikoto mine is expected to reach record-level production this year and through to 2024, the Canada-based low-cost international senior gold producer...

Mining survey: Chamber hits back

11 hours ago | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKU Too few responses have skewed Namibia's performance on the 2020 Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies, tarnishing its image as an attractive investment...

‘Not up to you’

11 hours ago | Education

TUYEIMO HAIDULA ONGWEDIVA Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi says institutions of higher learning...

Sioka in hot water over...

11 hours ago | Ministries

JANA-MARI SMITH WINDHOEKThe clock is ticking for child welfare minister Doreen Sioka who has less than a month to present a...

Corruption - A social disease...

11 hours ago | Columns

Johan CoetzeeGiven ongoing media articles about governance, manifested in contraction of investment and increasing unemployment, it is appropriate to reflect on several trends covering several...

EDITORIAL

11 hours ago | Opinion

The phony attempts by mainly men in the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) to undermine its president Esther Muinjangue will only further dissuade women from...

Drought policy in review to...

11 hours ago | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKThe agriculture ministry is in the process of reviewing the country’s drought...

Nam mining licence loophole closed

11 hours ago | Business

From the beginning of April this year, Namibians who hold mineral licences will no longer be allowed to transfer it to foreign companies or persons...

Aroab SME owners hope for...

11 hours ago | Business

Suzith Tjitaura – Small business owners at Aroab say they hope for better days as they have hardly generated any profits since the start of...

Load More