Nampa staff raise 'mismanagement' alarm
09 June 2020 | Government
Cabinet is expected to discuss the appointment of a new board of directors and chief executive officer for the Namibia Press Agency (Nampa).
This was confirmed by the minister of public enterprises, Leon Jooste, who was copied in an open letter by aggrieved Nampa staff to information minister Peya Mushelenga last week. Nampa staff threatened to go on strike if their complaints were not addressed by Thursday, 11 June.
“I received a copy of the letter. The issues will be looked into and addressed as appropriate. There is also a submission with cabinet as we speak to seek approval for the appointment of the new Nampa board and CEO,” Jooste said.
In their letter the staff told the line minister that the current board of directors appeared to be indifferent to the state of affairs at the press agency, and seemingly did not care whether the entity could continue to operate as a going concern.
“They are rather interested in receiving money for their sitting allowances. The board chairperson is based in Malaysia, and the agency funds his flights to and from Malaysia to attend board meetings. Mr Christian Maketo, who is based in Rundu, also travels at the expense of the agency which has to cough up fuel expenses for his vehicle to travel from Rundu plus accommodation. Similarly, a deceased board member who was based in Cape Town also flew into Windhoek to attend Nampa board meetings at the expense of the agency,” the letter stated.
According to the letter, chairperson Rector Mutelo's flight expenses between Windhoek and Malaysia cost Nampa N$91 271 between 2016 and 2017, while N$13 372 was spent on flights for the deceased board member.
“The board of directors was appointed on 11 December 2015, but to date there is nothing to show in terms of governance and steering the agency into achieving greater heights. Promises of securing additional funding to grow the agency's potential were made to staff. To date nothing has materialised. It then begs the question, what has the current board done to bring about change and stability and preserve the longevity of the company?” the letter said.
N$88 292 interviews
The staff further notified Mushelenga that it cost Nampa to a total of N$88 292 to host the interviews for a CEO and also alerted him to a number of irregularities during the process.
According to them the board chairperson failed to disclose the fact that he enjoyed very close relations with one of the candidates, acting CEO of Nampa, Linus Chata.
Chata served as the head of human resources before he took up this acting role.
“It seems to be the board conveniently forgot to disclose this before interviews and shortlisting were done. The board has not acted in accordance with its powers,” they said.
The staff also accused Chata of convincing the board to change the HR policy to give him a 15% increase on his additional acting allowance instead of being paid the difference of the salaries between that of the HR and CEO positions.
Chata has rejected all these accusations as “blatant lies” and stressed that the board has at all times acted within its powers.
The other candidates for the position are former New Era Publications Corporation (NEPC) CEO Audrin Mathe and Anethe Mtambanengwe, a deputy director at the National Council.