New Era COO suspended over procurement deals

NEPC’s number two in charge has been sent home after the board instituted an investigation into how a tender, worth over N$300 000 monthly, was awarded without following public procurement procedures.

03 December 2021 | Local News

OGONE TLHAGE







WINDHOEK

New Era Public Corporation (NEPC) has suspended its chief operating officer (COO) Kavezemburuka ‘Sieggie’ Veii-Mujoro following questionable procurement processes at the government information mouthpiece.

Veii-Mujoro is also accused of misrepresenting facts to the NEPC board – including allegedly stating that a company minibus, which is grounded at a scrapyard in Windhoek, is at the office and fully operational.

Several other procurement issues were allegedly flagged to the board, leading to a decision to suspend the COO for three months, effective from Monday this week.

Namibian Sun understands Veii-Mujoro has approached his lawyers to challenge his suspension.

Questions were also raised as to why NEPC employed Veii-Mujoro, who allegedly left The Namibian under a cloud of controversy, even when an unflattering testimony was received from his employer.

On 5 November, the NEPC board stopped management from awarding a controversial newspaper distribution tender because of alleged irregularities.

Before that, the board had instituted an investigation into how a company called Infinity Logistics was awarded a distribution contract without following the approved internal procurement processes – and contrary to Section 2(a) of the Public Procurement Act 15 of 2015.

The Infinity contract was awarded without any public bid invitation, bid opening and bid evaluation.

Emergency formalisation

When Namibian Sun inquired in June about this, NEPC CEO Christof Maletsky said he was part of the team that awarded the tender.

“Not only I or COO [Veii-Mujoro] but several managers were part of the awarding. It was an emergency formalisation of what was already in place. Infinity was already distributing. We just signed directly with them,” he said at the time.

“Since Infinity was already distributing our paper, we invited them for a presentation which was done to end-user managers and the exco.”

The contract awarded to Infinity Logistics CC is above the informal quotation threshold - that is between N$1 and N$15 000. NEPC pays over N$300 000 monthly for this contract.

In such instances, the Public Procurement Act requires the contracts to be preceded by a bid evaluation report and an executive summary report.

In the dark

Reacting to his suspension, Veii-Mujoro reserved his right to comment, saying: “My condition says I must not speak to the media, but yes I was suspended. “Whatever irregularities there are, I have not seen them,” he said before referring Namibian Sun to his lawyer, Jerhome Tjizo.

Tjizo said he was equally in the dark on why his client was suspended.

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