Novanam workers unhappy with ‘shares trust’

Workers at the fishing company claim that they were not properly consulted about a share scheme, but the management has denied this.

15 March 2021 | Labour

JEMIMA BEUKES

Beneficiaries of the Novanam Staff Share Trust last week handed over a petition to the company questioning the creation of several trusts to allegedly benefit the management and directors.

The petition was read by Julius Iipinge, who said since the establishment of the Novanam Staff Trust, employees were not properly consulted and they were left in the dark about how they could benefit from the trust.

“To date we as employees were never informed as to how many ordinary and preference shares were allocated to us, and how and when we are supposed to benefit from the shareholding entity. We as employees were also never issued with the share certificate as proof of shareholding,” he said.

Iipinge added that workers eventually discovered that employees were entitled to 2 041 500 shares worth N$2 million, which in turn equated to 2% of the total ordinary share capital of NovaNam Limited.

“We demand that NovaNam should publicly apologise to the Namibian government and her people because the company has used Schedule 1 of the Marine Resources Act 2000, which makes provision for at least 51% of the beneficial ownership to be h eld by Namibian citizens.

“In our view, NovaNam used the Marine Resources Act in order to benefit from government amenities such as less tax. Our committee is ready to engage in negotiations with the company with a view to resolve the issue,” he said.

Denial

NovaNam said they have had several meetings with the Trusts’ chairperson Abraham Nekwaya and the committee on 30 November and 1 December 2020 and presented a comprehensive proposal by the company.

The company added in a statement that, these two meetings were followed up with another ‘fruitful’ meeting with the fisheries minister Albert Kawana.

“In between all these meetings, there have been many phone calls to keep the discussions going. We then met again with you in our Windhoek office for further discussions. You expressed frustrations that members of the committee were apparently not understanding and were not wanting to understand our proposal, as well as seeking redress from the fisheries ministry in respect of additional quotas.”

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