NEPC financial woes due to laziness

22 August 2019 | Government

Cash-strapped state-owned New Era Publications Corporation (NEPC)'s acting CEO Benjamin Jakobs has attributed the corporation's failure to account for N$33.5 million to employees' poor work attitude.

NEPC received an adverse audit report for the 2016/17 financial year by the auditor-general, meaning that the corporation's financial statements were misrepresented, misstated and did not reflect its financial performance.

On the same note, NEPC currently has a tax balance liability of N$74 million, and an accumulated unaudited loss of N$66 million.

Addressing the members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts in Windhoek on Tuesday as to why the corporation's financial statements and internal audit functions are outsourced, Jakobs said the finance division, which consists of a chief financial officer, finance manager and three accountants, lacks the right attitude to match their job descriptions.

Currently, NEPC's financial statements and internal audit functions are outsourced to Hamilton Charted Accountants and Ernst and Young.

The committee's chairperson, Mike Kavekotora stressed that it is high time for state-owned enterprises' CEOs and employees to be held accountable for tax payers money, which disappears annually and vague or no explanations are given.

Kavekotora noted that if employees are incompetent, which leads to the corporation to outsource its work, then people should be dismissed from their positions.

“The attitude of employees had led the organisation to be insolvent. I do not think attitude contributed to all this, there should be an act of fraud and corruption somewhere and most of the time people do not want to admit [it],” he noted.

Equally, committee member Dudu Murorua concurred that the corporation has accounting policies that guide employees on functions and transactions of business, and therefore accountable employees should undergo disciplinary action.

Answering the committee's question if any of the employees under the department received verbal or written warnings for the injustice to the company, Jakobs explained that since taking over the CEO position in January, no warnings had been given.

However, the corporation implemented a high-performance disciplinary action to respond to the poor attitude of employees, he said.

Jakobs also noted that the board of directors is aware of the employees' poor work attitude and a concept of realignment has been submitted.

Concluding the hearing, Kavekotora noted that there is a need for state-owned companies to have a good leadership and understanding, adding that if the operational morale of an organisation is wrong, then things will go wrong like the current trend of parastatals.


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