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

 

Spending spree at Walvis Bay

1 week ago - 08 January 2019 | Government

JEMIMA BEUKES Senior Walvis Bay officials have been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar as...

Year of accountability – Geingob

2 weeks ago - 02 January 2019 | Government

JEMIMA BEUKES President Hage Geingob left the nation baffled when he declared 2019 the year of accountability after...

Geingob 'wants yes-men'

4 weeks ago - 21 December 2018 | Government

Analysts say President Hage Geingob's stifling of dissent in government is troubling and it appears as if the president wants to be surrounded by yes-men....

Shangula needs ‘unquestionable backing’

4 weeks ago - 21 December 2018 | Government

JEMIMA BEUKES The incoming health minister needs not only the support of his senior staff but the unquestionable backing of the head of state and...

Councillors squabble as residents suffer

4 weeks ago - 19 December 2018 | Government

A Rundu civic organisation says the ongoing infighting between Swapo councillors at the town shows that holding a certain position is more important to them...

Neeef still alive – PM

4 weeks ago - 19 December 2018 | Government

Despite reserving N$700 000 for the implementation of the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (Neeef) Bill in 2018, failure to do so does not mean...

Funeral uproar spreads

1 month - 17 December 2018 | Government

KENYA KAMBOWE Tempers flared at the state-funded memorial service of People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) commander Matias ‘Mbulunganga’ Ndakolo on Friday, after safety...

‘Much ado about nothing’

1 month - 17 December 2018 | Government

STAFF REPORTERThe presidency has hit back following a public outcry over President Hage Geingob’s inauguration of his personal lawyer Sisa Namandje’s new offices recently, claiming...

Be penny wise - Geingob

1 month - 17 December 2018 | Government

President Hage Geingob has urged the top brass of the police and Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) and the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) to be...

'Fix it yourselves'

1 month - 14 December 2018 | Government

Tenants of government flats at Rundu have made an impassioned plea to the works ministry to do major renovations to the premises, which is falling...

Latest News

NDF defies court order

6 hours ago | Justice

Four days after the Namibian Defence Force was ordered to vacate a Rehoboth shooting range it had illegally occupied in December, the army's locks remain...

Pensioner loses N$400k in scam

6 hours ago | Crime

A 60-year-old woman at Oshakati has lost N$405 000 in an extortion scam staged by fraudsters pretending to be police officers. The incident happened...

Ramaphosa implicated in corruption allegations

6 hours ago | Economics

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane on Thursday called on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to cancel all existing government contracts with Bosasa and institute...

Retail industry records negative growth

6 hours ago | Economics

The wholesale and retail trade sector in Namibia has recorded various degrees of negative growth for eight consecutive quarters, a policy analyst at the Namibia...

Not a walk in the...

6 hours ago | People

Elizabeth Joseph Business and economics have always fascinated Danny Meyer, the founder of SMEs Compete.For as long as he can remember, Meyer has always harboured...

New year, new CV

6 hours ago | Columns

In the modern era, the job market is fast and competitive and opportunities come in a blink of an eye. If you are not ready...

Parents angry about Andimba School...

6 hours ago | Education

Some parents are accusing the Andimba Toivo ya Toivo Senior Secondary School at Ondangwa of denying grade 12 learners hostel accommodation. They complained to Namibian...

Vote to secure your destiny

6 hours ago | Columns

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) announced this week it will start conducting supplementary registration for voters in July, ahead of the presidential and National...

Corruption - A social disease

6 hours ago | Columns

How to create reckoning during the Year of Accountability?This article focuses on options to capitalise on the recently proclaimed ‘Year of Accountability’. Given the fact...

Load More