Uproar over Mberirua’s N$650k payout

02 March 2021 | Transport

OGONE TLHAGE



WINDHOEK

Air Namibia’s interim CEO Theo Mberirua -who worked for the airline for just over eight months - will walk away with a N$651 879.50 severance pay cheque once the airline’s liquidation has been concluded.

This means he will be amongst the 20 highest severance pay earners.

Mberirua’s payout is contained in documents submitted to the Business and Intellectual Property Authority of Namibia last week.

Mberirua’s appointment was effective 13 July 2020, replacing acting CEO Elia Erastus.

A total of N$105 million will be paid the airline’s 629 employees, a figure which has angered cabin crew members.

Cabin Crew Union president Reginald Kock yesterday said "the amount cannot be justified”.

‘What did he do?’

“He could not even get normal services to resume at a bare minimum. He could not get the business plan approved. What did he do? It’s shocking. I am shocked," Kock said.

Namibia Airline Pilots Association president Heino Jakob also questioned the amount.

"It seems like a high amount. Is this just another golden handshake? It will be worthwhile to see how they got to that amount."

Air Namibia’s former board chairperson Escher Luanda at one point defended Mberirua’s appointment, stating that the airline needed a CEO, despite its meagre resources.

“While we may be facing financial challenges in these difficult times, we equally value the need to have an executive as highly regarded as Mr Mberirua. We have the financial resources to compensate the interim CEO and we are fortunate that the agreed remuneration with the incumbent is within the confines of the public enterprises legislation,” Luanda was quoted by The Namibian as saying.

Mberirua’s appointment by the board was reportedly against the advice of public enterprises minister Leon Jooste, who said no CEO should be appointed while the government is investigating realignment options for the airline.

Prior to his appointment at Air Namibia, Mberirua was an executive with Bidvest Namibia. He has also served as the managing director of Standard Bank and Telecom respectively.

Efforts to get comment from Jooste proved futile.

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