Namdia chair pockets N$72k for 5-day job

While the entire country is tightening its belt over the economic crunch, the Namdia board chairman is loosening his after a fat pay cheque for attending a disciplinary hearing.

18 June 2021 | Local News

MATHIAS HAUFIKU







WINDHOEK

Namdia board chair Bryan Eiseb pocketed N$71 863 for taking leave for five days from his full-time banking job to attend the disciplinary hearing of the diamond firm’s CEO Kennedy Hamutenya and finance head Sven von Blottnitz.

Eiseb, the director of exchange control and legal services at the Bank of Namibia, distanced himself from the process that led up to the payment, saying “I was not part of it”.

Hamutenya and Von Blottnitz were charged for gross insubordination for allegedly authorising a N$210 000 payment to diamantaire Neil Haddock for work he did for Namdia after his contract with the company had ended.

Hamutenya and the board have not seen eye to eye in recent months. Those close to the CEO feel there is a witch hunt at play to get rid of him, while others say the board is on the right track to clean up the company which has been hogging negative media headlines for its alleged questionable diamond dealings.

Namibian Sun can reveal that Eiseb’s fellow board members resolved to pay him N$71 863 for his attendance at the hearings last month. This translates into a daily payment of N$14 372.65.

The other board members are Liina Muatunga, Justice Hausiku and Selma Shimutwikeni.

“The board hereby resolves to make a payment of N$71 863.25 to the board chairperson for attending the disciplinary hearings of the CEO and the general manager of finance for five days that was outside the scope of his usual duties as a director,” read a board resolution dated 1 June obtained by this publication.

Uproar

The board’s decision to pay Eiseb that amount apparently caused great uproar among Namdia employees when the news broke due to concerns that it sets a bad precedence.

Employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Board members already get hefty monthly retainers so this payment was not necessary because his presence was not even required at the hearings”.

According to the board members, a benchmarking exercise was conducted with Namcor, NamWater and the Development Bank of Namibia to arrive at the figure.

Sources also questioned Eiseb’s involvement in the disciplinary process.

“How will the board take an independent decision if he [Eiseb] was part of the hearing and attended all sessions?” a source, who spoke to this publication earlier this week, asked.

Eiseb yesterday said he is not aware of any concerns regarding his presence at the hearing, and if there were any, “those who were present would have brought it up”.

“Namdia dealt with this matter in line with the policies of the company. If those raising these concerns have a standing in this, they were supposed to raise it during the hearing, and if they do not have a standing, then so be it,” he said.

Pricey process

Asked about the fees he raked in for the five days, Eiseb referred this reporter to human resources.

“I was not part of that decision, so please approach the director responsible for HR [Muatunga],” he said.

Meanwhile, Muatunga yesterday said she was off sick, and would revert as she needed to “request information from Namdia”.

Namdia insiders revealed that the company has so far spent over N$750 000 on the disciplinary process. This includes payments for the Deloitte forensic report, hiring a legal firm to initiate the process, Eiseb’s sitting fees as well payment for lawyers Adolf Denk and Clement Daniels who represented Von Blottnitz and Hamutenya respectively.

Namibian Sun has been informed that the four-man board will sit today to decide Hamutenya and Von Blottnitz’s fate.

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