Nampol can’t explain N$11m Peugeot snub

The police chief was at pains to explain why they did not procure their latest 25 vehicles from the Peugeot plant at Walvis Bay, in which government is a 49% shareholder.

13 October 2021 | Police

OGONE TLHAGE







WINDHOEK

Namibian police (Nampol) chief Sebastian Ndeitunga says the force was not aware of a Cabinet directive requiring public institutions to procure their vehicle fleets from the government partially-owned Peugeot assembly plant at Walvis Bay, after splashing N$11.3 million on 25 vehicles from private dealerships.

The directive has been in place for four years, since 2018. Government is a 49% shareholder in the plant, while French automaker Groupe PSA owns the remaining 51% stake.

That year, then finance minister Calle Schlettwein directed all public entities to acquire their vehicles from the Walvis Bay plant.

“In line with this object and the need to support the local car manufacturing industry, all public entities wishing to procure vehicles are directed to restrict procurement to the locally manufactured Peugeot 3008 and Peugeot 5008 vehicle models until such vehicles are exhausted,” Schlettwein wrote at the time.

No justification

Ndeitunga said he “cannot justify” the decision to snub the government-owned plant, saying in future the force will buy its fleet from it.

“This one we cannot really justify,” he said when approached by Namibian Sun.

“I didn’t have that view of the minister [Schlettwein] that you are talking about. We were not aware of that instruction, but rest assured, this is a factory that is operating from Namibia unlike buying from other countries, you are shipping the money outside and the money is not being spent here, so it is a good reason for us to support that factory.”

The vehicles were procured from Pupkewitz, Autohaus and Zimmerman dealerships, police confirmed yesterday.

We just gave money

The Road Fund Administration (RFA), itself a state-owned entity, donated funds for the fleet, which consists of 11 Volkswagen Polo GTIs, six Toyota Corollas and three Toyota single cab bakkies. Five vehicles are yet to be delivered.

RFA CEO Ali Ipinge said his organisation only availed the money for the vehicles but police procured the vehicles themselves.

“The procurement was done by Nampol, we did not do the procurement. We supported them in terms of the budget allocation that we committed to this year for them to acquire the vehicles,” he said.

Current finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi said the directive to procure from the Walvis Bay assembly plant is still in place.

“The directive remains in force,” he told Namibian Sun, adding, “offices, ministries and agencies are still required to comply with that requirement”.

“We are still encouraging institutions, even those that are not part of the central government, to buy from Peugeot to save employment and support the local economy.”

When asked whether the plant had been considered, Ndeitunga said there’s always a next time.

“They are worthy to be supported and I can assure you, if we get resources, we will not hesitate to purchase from that factory,” he said.

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