Kauta wants Mulunga suspended

15 December 2017 | Government

The minister of public enterprises, Leon Jooste, has confirmed that he had received a request from Patrick Kauta, the board chairperson of the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor), to suspend managing director Immanuel Mulunga.

This request was also made to the minister of mines and energy, Obeth Kandjoze.

Jooste yesterday said he was still considering the request and had requested more information from Kauta. He refused to give the reasons advanced by the Namcor board for this drastic action.

“We regard the suspension of a managing director or chief executive officer of a public enterprise as an extreme measure, which should only be condoned under exceptional circumstances based on strong evidence.

“The suspension of a MD or CEO under less than exceptional circumstances is not in the best interest of the entity as it creates a leadership vacuum and tarnishes the brand and integrity of the entity,” Jooste said.

Jooste said he would, therefore, only approve the Namcor board's request if such stringent requirements were met.

“The overall, overarching principle is that we must always act in the best interest of the entity rather than of the individual,” Jooste added.

Kauta on Wednesday would not say whether the board was considering disciplinary steps against Mulunga for purported questionable appointments of nine temporary employees.

The board on 27 November cancelled these appointments and Mulunga, who had unilaterally made the appointments without advertisements or interviews, was forced to inform the employees of their dismissal.

The Villager yesterday reported that the board's request for Mulunga's suspension was in fact over the appointments, as well as over a tender for the supply of lubricants to Namcor.

It alleged that the tender was awarded to a Mauritius-based company, Hyrax Oil, through Mulunga's machinations after he had insisted on a restrictive bidding process for the tender, which limited the tender applications.

Mulunga reportedly confirmed that the owner of Hyrax Oil, Alex Wayne, was a friend of his.

The Villager quoted Mulunga as having said that there was nothing wrong with the procurement method because the products were required quickly.

Sasol is currently supplying Namcor with lubricants. This contract expires in March next year.

Namcor's spokesperson, Utaara Hoveka, said questions sent to Mulunga related to matters currently before higher authorities and the parastatal therefore was unable to comment at this stage.

CATHERINE SASMAN

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