Geingob was 'talked out of' firing ministers

15 November 2019 | Government

President Hage Geingob had written dismissal letters for ministers Sacky Shanghala and Bernhard Esau on Wednesday morning, but a high-level meeting that included Vice-president Nangolo Mbumba and Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa urged him to hold his horses, State House insiders have revealed.

The two ministers are caught in the web of an international probe which indicates that an Icelandic fishing company has paid Namibian officials N$150 million in bribes for fishing quotas in the last seven years.





Esau and Shanghala have denied any wrongdoing. Other people implicated in the WikiLeaks papers are James Hatuikulipi and his cousin Tamson 'Fitty' Hatuikulipi. Fitty is Esau's son-in-law, while James was appointed by Esau as board chairperson of state fishing company Fishcor.

Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya is also named in the documents released by an Icelandic whistleblower.

On Wednesday morning, President Geingob initially told officials in the presidency that the two ministers “had to go” and he had their dismissal letters signed and ready for delivery, according to well-placed sources.

“The problem with Geingob is that he consults too much because he seemingly is scared to take decisions on his own, so he called Mbumba and Shaningwa to State House,” a party official said.

After expressing his intent to fire the two ministers, Geingob was apparently advised to help “protect their dignity” by offering them the option to resign instead of outright dismissal.

“Firing them would have sent a clear message about his seriousness against corruption and possibly win back the hearts of many disillusioned Namibians, who are unhappy with the state of affairs in the country at the moment and are willing to give their votes to someone else,” another official said.

“The people advising the president have often let him down and this is one of those cases where he had made up his mind as head of state and someone he consulted talked him out of his decision. They told him he did not have enough evidence warranting firing the two ministers and he panicked.”

Officials say Shanghala and Esau “knew they were in trouble” and anticipated their sacking.

After they were invited to State House on Wednesday, Shanghala showed up in his private Range Rover instead of his official vehicle, Namibian Sun was told.

“In fact, he told his driver to drive the official vehicle to the Government Garage and park it there. That's how much he knew he was in trouble,” said a source.

“When news of this scandal emerged on Tuesday night, Esau was at the coast and he drove [to Windhoek] right away because he knew he would be summoned to State House.”

Although he had tendered his resignation, Esau hours later issued a statement on the fisheries ministry's letterhead in which he denied the allegations against him.

“Everyone was surprised by that because he was no longer minister. Why use the ministerial letterhead when you're no longer a minister?” another official wanted to know.

STAFF REPORTER

Similar News

 

Covid hits Cabinet, Swapo

2 hours ago | Government

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKYesterday's routine cabinet meeting was held virtually after a senior official in that arm of government allegedly tested for Covid-19, while the ruling party...

Harambee goal down the toilet

6 days ago - 06 August 2020 | Government

Jo-Maré Duddy WINDHOEK Of the 50 000 toilets in informal settlements in rural areas President Hage Geingob promised in his Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP)...

So long Jerry Beukes

6 days ago - 05 August 2020 | Government

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Namibia Training Authority (NTA), Jerry Beukes resigns after four years. This resignation is effective as of 30 September 2020....

Journalist lands in trouble for Fishrot question to Geingob

1 week ago - 03 August 2020 | Government

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKNamibia Press Agency (Nampa) journalist Edward Mumbuu has found himself in hot water with his employer after he asked President Hage Geingob a Fishrot-related...

PM spearheads bold govt innovation moves

2 weeks ago - 28 July 2020 | Government

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKGovernment is set to implement pilot one-stop service centres with online portals to facilitate shared public services through its newly launched public sector...

Officials 'sabotaging' Swapo-led government

4 weeks ago - 15 July 2020 | Government

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUNational Council audit committee chairperson Lebbeus Tobias has described the neglect of borders and challenges faced by border staff as “sabotage” of the Swapo-led...

'Geingob desperate to win in November'

4 weeks ago - 13 July 2020 | Government

Kenya KamboweRUNDU President Hage Geingob's virtual meeting with the country's regional governors this past Friday is a sign of desperation.This according to political commentator Ndumba...

NUNW lashes Katjavivi over Nujoma insults

1 month - 10 July 2020 | Government

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEK National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) secretary-general Job Muniaro has lashed out at National Assembly speaker Peter Katjavivi for failing to maintain order,...

Iithete says ministerial contract ended gracefully

1 month - 07 July 2020 | Government

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKFormer finance deputy minister Natangwe Iithete has reacted publicly for the first time to losing his job, saying his contract as deputy minister had...

I'm not Kalimbo's grandfather – Utoni

1 month - 06 July 2020 | Government

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKLabour minister Utoni Nujoma has dismissed claims that he shouted expletives at Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) MP Kalimbo Iipumbu in the National Assembly...

Latest News

Covid hits Cabinet, Swapo

2 hours ago | Government

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKYesterday's routine cabinet meeting was held virtually after a senior official in that arm of government allegedly tested for Covid-19, while the ruling party...

Fishrot whistleblower rubbishes Samherji's loss-making...

2 hours ago | Crime

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKWhistleblower Johannes Stefansson, who formerly headed Icelandic seafood giant Samherji’s Namibian business interests, has cast doubt on claims by his former employer that its...

Pads restore dignity at Ncamagoro

2 hours ago | Social Issues

KENYA KAMBOWENCAMAGOROAbout 40 women and girls at Ncamagoro village in Kavango West received free sanitary pads on Monday, donated by anonymous benefactors from the Namibia...

Youth at the periphery of...

2 hours ago | Opinion

With this year's regional and local authority elections a mere two months away, young people are again being elbowed to the edge.In political parties, strategies...

Python skins seized

2 hours ago | Crime

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKSix suspects were arrested in connection with wildlife crimes and three new cases were opened recently, while seized products included python, leopard and pangolin...

Illegal sand miners warned

2 hours ago | Environment

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUThe environment ministry has condemned sand miners who start operations without obtaining environmental clearance certificates.They simply pay traditional authorities, who are grateful for the...

Dairy industry fights for survival

2 hours ago | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKThe Namibian dairy industry is on the verge of imploding, but the...

Mariental abattoir to close again

2 hours ago | Agriculture

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEK The Farmers' Meat Market (FMM) abattoir at Mariental has informed its stakeholders that it will be closing for financial reasons. ...

Building a brighter future

2 hours ago | Education

TUYEIMO HAIDULAEENHANA Moses Amukwaya cannot wait to build beautiful houses and “make Namibia a beautiful country”. He is a hearing-impaired learner at Usko Nghaamwa Special...

Load More