Mulunga drops Namcor’s suit

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Mulunga drops Namcor’s suit

Suspended Namibian Petroleum Corporation managing director Immanuel Mulunga has withdrawn his suit against his employer over the two charges he faces.

On Monday, in chambers, Labour Court Judge Eileen Rakow removed the matter from the court’s roll after Mulunga tendered a notice to withdraw the case on 19 April.

His lawyer, Jermaine Muchali, informed New Era on Monday that they opted to withdraw the review application, as “the legal issues therein are subject to another pending hearing”.

According to Namcor’s spokesperson Utaara Hoveka, Mulunga’s employment is still the same; he is still on suspension and the internal disciplinary process is ongoing.

Mulunga approached the Labour Court, seeking the charge sheet of a disciplinary hearing, dated 24 May 2023, to be corrected, reviewed and set aside or alternatively to be declared to be against the provisions in the employee relations policy of Namcor.

Further, he was asking the Labour Court to declare that any further steps taken by his employer because of the charge sheet are a nullity.

In his affidavit, Mulunga claims the charges have not been instituted within a reasonable time of the necessary facts becoming available to the board of directors of Namcor.

He said the policy provides that any disciplinary action by Namcor should be disposed of within 90 days from the time the breach was officially brought to the attention of Namcor.

In addition, the investigations into the charges were not conducted by the initiator but by a third party, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, from South Africa.

The charges Mulunga faces are fraud [withholding information from the board of directors]: he had the intention of instructing the finance department to transfer US$6.7 million to Sungara Energies from the account of Namcor Exploration and Production (Namcor E&P), a subsidiary of Namcor, while he had the duty to do so.

He stated that he was charged by the wrong entity, as he authorised payment from the Namcor Exploration and Production Limited bank account and not that of the holding company, Namcor. 

As such, he said, Namcor Exploration and Production Limited should have charged him.

“I have not been charged by Namcor Exploration and Production Limited but rather by the respondent [Namcor], which is a different corporate entity. The charges are flawed on this basis and stand to be reviewed and set aside,” said Mulunga.

Responding to Mulunga’s suit, Tim Ekandjo, Namcor’s board vice chairperson, said he should not have approached the Labour Court, as internal processes are still ongoing.

“The Labour Court’s function, under the act, is not to interfere with pending disciplinary proceedings at the workplace. If the Labour Court does not have that function, the relief sought by the applicant in this case can also not be incidental to such a non-function,” said Ekandjo in his replying affidavit.

It is rather strange that Mulunga claims that he should have been charged by Namcor Exploration and Production Limited when he is aware of the structures, Ekandjo continued.

Ekandjo added that although Namcor Exploration and Production Limited and Namcor Petroleum Trading and Distribution are wholly owned subsidiaries of Namcor, they operate as departments of Namcor.

Ekandjo further explained that the payment that Mulunga made was not on behalf of Namcor Exploration and Production Limited or to settle its obligations.

“It was rather an unauthorised payment related to the contractual obligations of Sequa and Petrolog to Sungara… These funds were required to put Sungara in a position to pay the deposit to secure the opportunity for itself,” said Ekandjo.