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Namcor suspends IT executive for internal investigation

2024-04-02  Edgar Brandt

Namcor suspends IT executive for internal investigation

The National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) has suspended its executive for information technology Bonifatius Konjore. The decision to suspend Konjore is part of an ongoing internal investigation into possible misconduct. 

“It must be noted that this development does not suggest guilt or wrongdoing, but rather a standard procedure to ensure a fair and impartial process. This decision has been made in light of an ongoing internal investigation. It is important to emphasise that Mr Konjore’s suspension is not indicative of any presumption of guilt or impropriety; rather, it is a standard protocol, aimed at ensuring a fair and unbiased inquiry,” read a Namcor statement issued on Thursday.  

In the meantime, Namcor’s finance and administration executive Louis du Toit will act in Konjore’s position. 

“Considering that this is an internal matter, Namcor refrains from disclosing any specifics or offering comments on ongoing investigations, in line with our internal policy scheme governing employee relations. 

We assure our stakeholders that appropriate steps are being taken to address this matter swiftly and transparently in the best interests of all parties concerned,” read the Namcor statement   The national oil company has recently been besieged by a spate of illegal activities, including the theft of fuel worth N$1 million. Four men were arrested for this crime, and each faces charges of theft, money laundering and conspiracy to commit theft. 

The four are accused of running a syndicate that illegally siphoned fuel from the national oil storage facility at Walvis Bay between December 2023 and January this year. 

Namcor operates the oil storage facility, which is State-owned. 

The police charge sheet in this matter reads: “From 7 December to 25 January 2024 at Walvis Bay, the accused persons, while acting individually or in common purpose, wrongfully and unlawfully engaged in an arrangement and transaction in terms of conspiring to steal diesel from Namcor, with a total of 79 000 litres valued at N$1 million”. 

Namcor reported that after the fuel theft, it dispatched a team to the oil storage facility to strengthen the security system to move from a paper-based system to an integral system.

In another case, it is alleged that loaded fuel trucks never reached their intended customers. 

“Auditors were unable to match 69 trucks that left the national oil storage facility with the product,” a Namcor spokesperson stated at the time. 

“In simple language, this means there was evidence of the trucks having left the national oil storage facility, but a lack of requisite evidence of the trucks having disposed or delivered product [sic] at customer sites,” a Namcor spokesperson stated at the time. 

“Should any Namcor employees be implicated in the investigation, we assure you that the necessary actions will be taken in accordance with our policies and the law,” a Namcor spokesperson added.

Moreover, towards the end of 2023, Namcor acknowledged past challenges, particularly in 2010, which the corporation stated led to significant losses. 

This followed exposure to fluctuating oil prices and – what Namcor termed –a “flawed agreement” with a third-party supplier, with ensuing financial implications that prompted a government bailout. 

As at 31 March 2023, Namcor unaudited financial statements confirm the entity made an unprecedented net loss of N$700 million. This was coupled with a significant working capital deficit that created significant cash flow challenges. 

By the end of March last year, the corporation faced a significant working capital deficit with a creditor’s book of N$2.5 billion. 

“Through meticulous sales planning, robust margin and profitability analysis, and strategic debt restructuring, Namcor successfully reduced this amount to N$1.9 billion by September 2023. While the company currently enjoys a positive gross profit position, associated defaults in supplier payments necessitate timely shareholder intervention to avoid further interest on debt. The turnaround strategy is poised to restore financial health and secure a sustainable future for Namcor,” Namcor stated at the time.  

Beyond its role as a petroleum products trading company, Namcor actively participates in the upstream space through its exploration and production entity. The corporation is currently involved in significant oil finds, and it is the custodian of the Namibian State’s interests in these hydrocarbon discoveries. 

“Despite challenges, Namcor’s management is resolute in its commitment to implementing the turnaround strategy and steering the corporation toward stability. Our staff remain our biggest priority, and we have gone to greater lengths to keep the staff informed about our challenges and associated turnaround strategy; we will continue to provide much-needed assurance to our employees. The turnaround strategy has been fully owned by the board, management and staff,” Namcor stated. 

2024-04-02  Edgar Brandt

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