Kuzeeko Tjitemisa Windhoek-The Minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste says the National Petroleum Company (Namcor)’s suspended managing director, Immanuel Mulunga, could have been investigated without putting him on special leave, as this action has caused irreparable damage to the Namcor brand. Speaking to New Era yesterday, Jooste said he finds it troubling that the damage to the integrity of the Namcor brand did not enjoy consideration in taking this decision. “Namcor is an international brand and every ounce of negative publicity tarnishes the brand. Having said that, I remain firm that no form of corruption should ever be condoned and should always be investigated, but one would want to do this without unnecessary noise,” he said. His remarks follow the decision by the Namcor board on Monday to put Mulunga and Namcor IT executive, Bonifatuis Konjore, on special leave pending an investigation into a suspect tender by the company. Namcor board chairperson, Patrick Kauta, on Monday announced at a press conference that the two were placed on special leave until January 20, paving the way for a forensic investigation into a suspect N$2.2 million tender. Kauta refused to label the move a suspension, saying that if a person took leave then that means the leave is voluntary. But yesterday Jooste said he sees very little difference between special leave and suspension. “I remain convinced that the desired effect could equally have been achieved without putting the MD on special leave. If the issues were investigated with him in office and he was found to interfere, it would definitely have warranted further displinary measures,” said Jooste. “Semantics do not alter motive. In law people talk about the ‘spirit of the law’ and I think it’s very clear what the ‘spirit of the directive’ to stop this phenomenon of suspensions in SOE’s is intended for,” he added. Recent media reports suggested that Mines and Energy Minister Obeth Kandjoze had been pushing for Mulunga’s suspension, following allegations of conflict of interest and potential nepotism in awarding tenders at the company. Mulunga on Monday maintained he has done nothing wrong despite being placed on special leave. He told New Era on Monday that he welcomes the investigation by auditing firm Deloitte and he hopes that the investigation will clear his name. The Namibian on Monday quoted Mulunga saying there was a conspiracy to get rid of him, assisted by some insiders in Namcor, where Kandjoze himself was a managing director.
2017-12-20 09:17:23 9 months ago