Namdia forces manager to quit private diamond firm

08 June 2021 | Local News

MATHIAS HAUFIKU and JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK

State-owned diamond firm Namdia last month pushed its key accounts manager Andries Eiseb to choose between his Namdia job and his private company, which also competes in the country’s lucrative diamond sector.

Namibian Sun understands red flags were raised when it emerged that Eiseb might be contravening company policy when he applied for industry-related licences just nine months after joining Namdia.

Eiseb, who joined the company in January 2020, applied for a dealer’s licence in September 2020 and a cutter’s licence a month later through his company Evergreen Diamonds CC from the mines and energy ministry. Evergreen Diamonds, solely owned by Eiseb, was granted both licences last year.

The executive director in the mines and energy ministry Simeon Negumbo confirmed that the licences were issued to Evergreen last year.

Both cutter’s and dealer’s licences were granted, subject to terms and conditions.

“The application process complied with the requirements as set out by the ministry. Thus, he qualified for both licences, which were subsequently granted,” Negumbo said.

Probe

Eiseb is a seasoned diamantaire with over 30 years of experience in the industry, with stints at the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) and years as a government diamond valuator.

His private diamond dealings have since raised concerns of conflict of interest, which prompted the company’s leadership to launch a probe into the matter.

Namdia CEO Kennedy Hamutenya last week confirmed the company looked into Eiseb’s private diamond dealings while being a full-time employee at Namdia.

“I can confirm that Namdia was made aware and the matter was deliberated upon at board level and has been handled satisfactorily as an internal company matter,” he said.

Sources told this publication that Eiseb managed to evade further disciplinary measures.

“The matter is finalised and there were no punitive measures. He has wound down all his outside business and is dedicated to Namdia business,” Hamutenya said.

Licences cancelled

Negumbo said the ministry has since cancelled both licences, as per Eiseb’s request.

“On 21 May, Mr. Eiseb wrote a letter addressed to the minister of mines and energy, requesting for both licences to be cancelled as he relinquished his interests,” Negumbo added.

Until 2019, Eiseb’s private diamond valuation firm, Global Diamond Valuators Namibia (GDVN), was the official government diamond valuator. He served as the company’s executive chairman.

GDVN provided valuation services to government which included the valuation of the entire Namdeb production. The engagement was undertaken as part of a five-year tender contract with the mines ministry.

Eiseb elected not to respond to questions sent to him, saying Hamutenya has already responded on the matter.

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