Namibia’s anti-graft body has issued a summons for National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia boss Immanuel Mulunga to provide it with documentary evidence relating to alleged irregularities around the payment of N$100 million.
Anti-Corruption Commission director general Paulus Noa confirmed the latest development in a series of revelations of what appears to be a blockbuster movie unfolding at Namcor.
“We have served summons to the managing director of Namcor to provide [the] ACC with an affidavit, and furnish supporting documents relating to the alleged payments of N$100 million into a certain bank account. The summons outline the details of information the ACC requests to be furnished with,” he stated.
People familiar with the matter suggested that Noa was summoned to State House on Wednesday night to take President Hage Geingob into his confidence that any corrupt practices around Namcor would be dealt with decisively, or to brief the Head of State on what was happening.
Noa denied meeting the President.
“I did not meet the President last night regarding this matter, as alleged. In fact, I never met President Geingob this year,” he denied profusely.
Mulunga, on the other hand, confirmed receiving summons from the ACC.
Seemingly candid in his response, he suggested that the truth will absolve him.
“This is correct. We will furnish them with the documents tomorrow morning. We are happy that they have requested this documentation so that we [can] prove that there’s no corruption involved in this transaction,” Mulunga retorted yesterday.
Since news broke that he single-handedly authorised a payment exceeding N$100 million for two Angolan oil blocks without the board’s blessings, many have been calling for his head.
According to impeccable sources, only one of the five board members OK’d the transaction.
On Tuesday, a furious finance minister Iipumbi Shiimi called four Namcor board members to an impromptu meeting to register his disappointment at the petroleum company’s affairs.
Only board chairperson Jennifer Comalie was absent at the meeting held at Parliament, as she was awaiting her fate over drugs that were allegedly found in her official vehicle within Namcor’s precinct.
Comalie was arrested on Monday while awaiting a board meeting that was set to deliberate on disciplinary actions to be taken against Mulunga, who commands significant political power, according to people familiar with the oil industry.
So bad are things at Namcor that official opposition leader McHenry Venaani gave Shiimi a 48-hour ultimatum to suspend Mulunga so as to allow for an independent investigation.
The Popular Democratic Movement promised to initiate a parliamentary investigation into the “mafia-style corporate governance” at Namcor.
“The motion will move to have this investigation referred to a relevant Parliamentary Standing Committee, fully invoking the powers of said committee to subpoena witnesses to appear before it, as provided for by the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament Act 17 of 1996,” the party said this week.
The Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) also jumped onto the bandwagon, calling for accountability for any wrongdoing, and a public disclosure of investigation findings.
“The findings of the investigation must be made public to restore the public’s trust in the company, and ensure that Namibia’s natural resources are being used to benefit its people and promote sustainable economic development,” read the IPC statement.
Meanwhile, Mines and Energy minister Tom Alweendo was concerned after Comalie’s arrest, saying it has put the Namcor brand into disrepute.
Comalie was granted bail of N$7 000 on Tuesday in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court.
Speaking to Nampa this week, Alweendo said Namcor is one of the country’s most important State-owned companies, especially in view of recent oil discoveries.
“You will definitely want to make sure that people want to look at us and say we know what we are doing… So, this is very unfortunate. If we do not deal with it carefully, it can also make us look like we are not prepared for what is coming in terms of our oil discoveries,” he stated.
Alweendo, however, hastened to say that allegations that the arrest could be a set-up for Comalie should be pronounced by the police investigations through the courts.
“Before one can make a pronouncement on what it is, let us allow police investigations to take place on how those drugs got into her car… and how people knew there were drugs,” he noted.
Alweendo also confirmed that a week before her arrest, Comalie requested an urgent meeting with him and Shiimi to discuss information about threats to her safety.
“I do not know whether the issue has to do with the alleged oil deals… I cannot say this is about the oil. Let us wait until the police investigates and finds out what this is really all about,” the minister added.
-Additional reporting by Nampa
Caption: Hot spot… Namcor managing director Immanuel Mulunga has been summoned by the ACC.