FOA workers demand forensic audit

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FOA workers demand forensic audit

WALVIS BAY – Fisheries observers have accused their agency of violating their employment conditions as they failed to implement a salary structure for the past 20 years.  

The observers are also accusing the agency’s board of directors and management of overspending and wasting the institution’s money on unnecessary board meetings and expenses.

The Fisheries Observers Agency (FOA) is tasked to conduct research and police the country’s marine resources.

Its employees on Friday handed over a petition in which they condemn the reckless spending of the agency on subsistence and travelling allowance that annually exceeds the budget while they do not enjoy the same benefits.

Fisheries observer, Faustinus Mutangara who spoke on behalf of the workers said they are still waiting for the implementation of the 2021 salary increment for the 2021/2022 financial year, which was never implemented by the company.

They now want a forensic audit into the affairs of the organisation.

“The management complained about a lack of income in 2017 but went on and purchased a fleet of vehicles for the fisheries ministry, which they are still maintaining. We have also been operating without key policies that contribute to poor compliance and governance while the agency also has a tendency of delaying wage negations,” he said.

According to Mutangara, they are now demanding an investigation into the stagnant organisational structure, as it does not provide a career path for development.

They also want the subsistence and travel allowances of the CEO and board to be reduced and the December closure of the office to be ceased.

Personal protective gear should be procured for all employees, they demanded.

“We will take further steps if the board and management fail to meet our demands before 19 September.”

Board chairperson Inocencio Verde, who received the petition, indicated that they would study it and get back to the employees.

Meanwhile, the agency earlier this month indicated that they want the fisheries ministry to either increase the fisheries levy by almost 100%, allocate a fishing quota to it or review the export landed value of all fisheries.

According to sources, the FOA’s annual employee costs increased from N$37 million in 2014 to N$66 million in 2022, while its reserves decreased from N$39 million in March 2017 to a mere N$8 million in March this year.