Mulunga returns to work, denies suspension

23 January 2018 | Energy

OGONE TLHAGE

Despite media reports that National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia managing director Immanuel Mulunga was suspended, or given ‘special leave’ as his board chairperson Patrick Kauta labelled it, it appears that the man accused of corruption is still in command of the oil and gas parastatal.

Mulunga returned to work yesterday and sounded nonchalant when speaking to Namibian Sun.

He said he was never placed on forced leave, nor was he ever suspended. This is as he waits for the outcome of an investigation into alleged malpractice on his part by his board chairperson, Kauta.

“All I can say at this time is that I was not placed on suspension. I just returned from my annual leave and that is all that I have to say at this time,” Mulunga said when he was contacted.

Giving his take on the matter, public enterprises minister Leon Jooste said it was not necessary to suspend Mulunga after Kauta had made the request to send Mulunga on temporary leave. Jooste added that Mulunga’s planned suspension by the Namcor board would reflect negatively on the company’s brand image.

“We considered the application for suspension and the result was that we were convinced that the desired outcome could be reached without suspending the managing director, thereby saving the company from undue negative publicity as well as other potential negative consequences,” said Jooste.

Attempts to get a response from Kauta proved futile as he did not respond. Kauta would also not shed light on the outcome of a forensic investigation that he initiated. The investigation was due to be completed this past weekend.

In December, Kauta said the forensic investigation against managing director, Immanuel Mulunga, and information technology executive, Bonifatius Konjore, would not be wrapped up by 20 January as initially planned.

Kauta told New Era that only the first phase, which was forensic imaging and collection, had to be done by 20 January.

The two were placed on special leave in December to pave way for a forensic investigation into a N$2.2 million contract.

The company appointed audit firm Deloitte to conduct the forensic investigation.

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