Govt called out on RCC

Fritz Jacobs, who tried in vain to save the RCC from judicial management, says private sector players are ready to move in and feast on billions in tenders.

13 June 2018 | Government

Outgoing Roads Contractor Company (RCC) board chairperson Fritz Jacobs claims there are deliberate plans to do away with the parastatal in order to favour private sector interests in the country.

The beleaguered chairman, who has come under fire for brokering a N$580 million funding deal with a Chinese company in order to keep the RCC afloat, resigned together with fellow board member Elsie Skrywer yesterday, following a cabinet decision to follow through on placing the entity under judicial management.

“The plan to close the RCC and start a new RCC-type public entity will cost the country far more than N$2.5 billion and more time… in the meantime, there will be players who will move into the vacuum and capitalise on the billions of investments earmarked in the roads development plan of the country,” Jacobs said.

He and Skrywer's resignations follow those of Anna Mathebele as RCC board vice-chairperson, Elzevir Gelderbloem and Melkizedek Uupindi as board members.

“The company most certainly can be turned around. It is a company with great potential,” Jacobs said.

“I firmly believe in the future of the RCC.”

Public enterprises minister Leon Jooste yesterday dismissed the allegation raised by Jacobs, saying there were no discussions held at cabinet level that suggest a new RCC would be created.

A decision had been taken in 2017 to place the RCC under judicial management, with Jooste making the announcement at the time.

“Under judicial management, the board is effectively disempowered and the company is managed under the judicial manager. Executive management usually continues as usual, other than the CEO,” explained Jooste.

When asked if there is a possibility that the judicial management bid could be opposed by interest groups, such as employees and trade unions, Jooste said “no”.



Chinese deal off

The cabinet committee on overall policies and priorities last week reversed a decision to allow the RCC board to rescue the embattled parastatal, and has finally decided to go back to its original plan to place it under judicial management.

The announcement was made by works minister John Mutorwa following the conclusion of a committee meeting that decided it would be better to go down the original route of judicial management.

Under judicial management, a manager is appointed by the Master of the High Court to among others, try and steer the entity out of trouble. If it cannot be rescued, it will be liquidated.

The board of the RCC, led by Jacobs, was given a chance to revive the RCC, and entered into a deal with Chinese construction firm Jiangsu Nantong Sanjian.

Under the deal with the Chinese entity, the RCC arranged off-balance sheet financing from Jiangsu to the tune of N$580 million, which would have seen the Chinese company raking in over N$2 billion in contracts for an initial loan outlay of N$580 million.

The partnership would have stretched over 14 years, with a five-year repayment period at 15% interest per year.

The arrangement also stated that Nantong Sanjian would become the RCC's major partner in the projects.

However, cabinet stopped the RCC board dead in its tracks from entering into the arrangement, following its failure to seek advice from the attorney-general and the approval of the line ministry.

This prompted the cabinet committee to direct the works ministry to prepare affidavits to support the RCC's judicial management court application.

“The decision was intact, taken in September 2017 already. The bill has been approved in principle by cabinet and is ready to be tabled by the minister of transport. The minister of transport will table the bill since he is the current shareholder minister as defined in the RCC Act,” said Jooste.



PS in hot water

Cabinet had initially directed Mutorwa to consider dismissing the RCC board, while secretary to cabinet, George Simataa was asked to take disciplinary action against works permanent secretary Willem Goeiemann.

Goeiemann is accused of withholding vital information regarding the RCC-China deal from Mutorwa.

“I asked him (Goeiemann) why he never shared the agreement with me and all he told was that he got the document with difficulty. I told him that even if he had got the document with difficulty he should have at least shared it with me,” Mutorwa told weekly Confidente last week.

When approached for comment by the newspaper, Goeiemann did not deny that he had not shared the document with Mutorwa.

“I was also given the agreement a day or two before Mutorwa got it,” he said.

The RCC has also been instructed to provide the minister of finance with updated financial statements to enable treasury to determine whether salaries of employees should be paid until the judicial management process is satisfactorily and successfully completed, Mutorwa said in statement released on Monday.

With the ball now in Mutorwa's court, the works minister did not say when he would start making arrangements for the tabling of the judicial management bill.

According to Mutorwa, it will be business as usual for the RCC, in the meantime.

“The RCC as an organisation will continue with its projects and there will be no disruptions. The RCC as a juristic body is not dissolved,” Mutorwa said.

The works minister also provided his assurance that CEO Seth Herunga would not be affected, saying: “The RCC CEO is an appointee of the board. The outgoing board did not raise any complaints against the CEO, thus the CEO position is not affected.”

Similar News

 

Swapo MPs mum during question time

6 days ago - 16 August 2018 | Government

JANA-MARI SMITH Only one Swapo MP asked questions last year during National Assembly question-and-answer sessions (Q&As).An overview, which forms of a study by the Institute...

Wrong moves on land could destroy us – Geingob

2 weeks ago - 03 August 2018 | Government

President Hage Geingob says the country's burning land question should be dealt with in a responsible manner, in order to avoid devastating consequences that...

Empowerment bill to be tabled soon

2 weeks ago - 02 August 2018 | Government

The Office of the Prime Minister says it intends to table the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Bill in the National Assembly before the end of...

Geingob has last say on ambassadors

3 weeks ago - 30 July 2018 | Government

The international relations ministry has confirmed that President Hage Geingob and not it has the final say when it comes to ambassador postings. This follows...

Hage faces Zim test

3 weeks ago - 27 July 2018 | Government

Local analysts have called on President Hage Geingob to rise above traditional relationships Swapo may have with Zanu-PF and its politicians, and play a statesmanlike...

Namibia, Jamaica deepen ties

4 weeks ago - 24 July 2018 | Government

Namibia and Jamaica on Monday signed various cooperation agreements aimed at deepening bilateral relationships between the two countries.Two Memoranda of Understanding between the two governments...

Nashandi redeployed, new PSes named

1 month - 19 July 2018 | Government

The Office of the Prime Minister has announced the appointment and redeployment of new permanent secretaries with effect from 1 August 2018. In a press...

New revenue agency operational by March 2019

1 month - 18 July 2018 | Government

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein is optimistic that the much-anticipated Namibia Revenue Agency will be operational come 1 March 2019. This will coincide with the start...

New permanent secretaries named

1 month - 17 July 2018 | Government

The Office of the Prime Minister has announced the appointment and redeployment of new permanent secretaries with effect from 1 August 2018. In a press...

Schlettwein dismisses 'capture' claims

1 month - 17 July 2018 | Government

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein has rubbished claims that Chinese interests have captured the Namibian government. According to him, there is no indication that the economy...

Latest News

Breaking our World Cup duck

18 minutes ago | Columns

Our hearts swelled with pride and joy when the national rugby side defeated Kenya 53-28 this past weekend to not only win the Africa Gold...

Bank Windhoek, Capricorn launch Private...

18 minutes ago | Banking

STAFF REPORTERThe offering unites the very best that Bank Windhoek and Capricorn Asset Management have to offer to create a boutique financial offering that caters...

Loerie Award spreads Buy-a-Brick message...

18 minutes ago | Business

STAFF REPORTERThis time the agency did it by picking up a Loerie Award for a temporary structure called ‘The Shack’, which won in the category...

Listeriosis impacted pig producers

18 minutes ago | Agriculture

The outbreak of listeriosis in South Africa was one the major challenges which Namibian pig producers experienced during the past year. This was highlighted during...

Farms to pay municipal rates

18 minutes ago | Agriculture

Following the announcement by the City of Windhoek that farmers within Windhoek's extended borders will have to pay municipal rates, the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU)...

Company news

18 minutes ago | Business

AngloGold swings back into H1 profitAngloGold Ashanti swung back into a first-half profit on the back of higher production and lower-than-expected retrenchment costs, Africa’s top...

Northwest winning poaching war

18 minutes ago | Environment

Rhino poaching in the northwest of Namibia has declined by 80% since it peaked in 2013. This is according to the CEO of Save the...

Land Rover on the trail...

18 minutes ago | Motors

Land Rover has embarked on an unexpected expedition to preserve the precious African rhinoceros and its habitat by joining an urban rhino trail across London....

The adrenaline-pumping New Mégane R.S....

18 minutes ago | Motors

The New Mégane R.S. was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017, and it is with pride that Renaults now offers this...

Load More