Pressure piles on procurement board

The Office of the Ombudsman has received an official complaint in the matter and will now seek answers on how the appointments were made.

14 May 2020 | Local News



The Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) will have to explain its recruitment of 14 persons, which has caused a public furore this week because of perceived ethnic bias, Ombudsman John Walters remarked yesterday.

The fact that only one man forms part of this group of new employees has also sparked debates on gender exclusion.

By law, the Namibian Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) is required to vet anyone the CPBN employs.

Attempts to get comment from NCIS yesterday proved futile.

Official complaint

The CPBN's main mandate is to vet and award public tenders.

The Office of the Ombudsman yesterday received an official complaint in this regard from the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo), while an online petition is being circulated to squeeze answers out of those who made the appointments.

The CPBN on Monday announced the appointment of a manager for internal procurement, one for finance and administration, a procurement specialist for goods, a senior registry officer, a registry officer, five bid evaluation secretaries, a technician for administration and two procurement officers.

After public outcry, the board attempted to pour cold water over the matter on Tuesday, claiming in a statement that the appointments were fairly made.

CPBN has since removed a tweet announcing the new appointments from its Twitter page.

Spokesperson Johanna Kambala declined to expand on the recruitment process.

Meanwhile, phone calls to CPBN chairperson Patrick Swartz went unanswered.

Matter under investigation

Walters said his office had received a complaint into the matter when approached for comment.

“I received a written complaint from Nudo. The complaint is now in progress, has been assigned to an investigator and [is] being completed,” Walters said.

At the time, Walters said it was the only complaint received on the appointments. He however indicated that more complaints could have been registered on the matter which he may not be aware of.

Walters said he would keep a close watch on the matter as he deemed it to have received much public attention.

Petition registered

An online petition had been created by journalist Lee Garises in light of the appointments.

The petition was addressed to finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi, but neither he nor ministry spokesperson Tonateni Shidhudhu responded when contacted for comment.

At the time of going to print, the petition had 1 375 signatures.

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