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Home / Nipam governance skirmish gets Nangolo suspended

Nipam governance skirmish gets Nangolo suspended

2023-03-20  Aletta Shikololo

Nipam governance skirmish gets Nangolo suspended

The Namibian Institute of Public Administration and Management on Friday announced the suspension of its executive director, Maria Nangolo.

The suspension was to facilitate “an independent and transparent investigation into allegations related to her conduct as executive director”.

Approached for comment, Nangolo said she only heard of her suspension through social media.

“I attended an audit and risk committee meeting in the morning at Nipam. I left for lunch, and thereafter equally heard about my so-called suspension from social media,” she added.

Later that day, she said she was informed about the delivery of her suspension letter through her tenants. New Era could not get hold of governing council chairperson George Simataa. However, his deputy, Nashilongo Shivute, said Nangolo did not show up for a meeting on Friday, where they would have issued her with the letter of suspension.

Asked why they are suspending her now while she only has three months left on her contract, Shivute said “to do some investigation into allegations made against her. There’s nothing more to it.”

Tender skirmish

The circumstances surrounding Nangolo’s suspension suggest that it may be a retaliatory move by the governing council’s chairperson Simataa, who has in the past been accused by Nangolo of interfering in tenders and the day-to-day management at Nipam.

Last year, Nangolo reported Simataa’s actions to government leaders, leading to tension between the two.

She wrote a letter to the legal support and compliance director at the Procurement Policy Unit (PPU) in the Ministry of Finance, Phineas Nsundano, in which she complained about not being happy to be receiving instructions from Simataa on how to conduct procurement.

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and minister of finance Iipumbu Shiimi were copied in on the correspondence.

This then prompted an investigation by the PPU.

The Namibian reported in November last year that the fallout between Simataa and Nangolo is linked to an audit tender which was advertised by Nipam in September.

Nangolo, who was on sick leave at that time, allegedly appointed Nespect Salom to act as Nipam’s executive director.

Her decision was then revoked by Simataa, who instead appointed Nipam’s director of finance and administration Mino Gariseb, who was on probation at the time.

The article also suggested that Nangolo claimed Simataa pressured her to approve the Nipam auditors’ tender.

“On the first day of my sick leave, I received an email from the chairperson of the governing council [Simataa], instructing me to procure auditors, using the emergency procurement option,” Nangolo told the finance ministry.

Two companies were shortlisted for the audit tender, namely Ernst and Young Namibia, which submitted a N$1,3 million bid, while PKF Financial Consulting submitted an N$828 000 bid.

Ernst and Young Namibia allegedly landed the contract.

Simataa allegedly reminded her on 8 November to make sure an auditor is appointed by 16 November.

Due to several doubts on the fairness, transparency and integrity of the procurement process from inception to date, Nangolo said she was not comfortable awarding the procurement contract.

“Simataa wrote an email to Nangolo about the implementation of urgent council decisions, including the procurement of auditors using the emergency route.

The other decision Simataa reminded Nangolo to urgently implement was the reinstatement of Sankwasa Mubita, who worked at Nipam’s strategy, organisational performance and business processes. He was fired after a disciplinary hearing,” read the article by The Namibian.

Mubita is acting in Nangolo’s position during her suspension.


After an investigation, the PPU found non-compliance with the Procurement Act, and advised the cancellation of the Ernst and Young Namibia contract.

A source close to the fracas, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said this decision irked the governing council. It then prompted an investigation, which the source believes is a situation caused by them.

“The ED’s investigation is caused by her letter dated 11 November 2022, which led to the PPU conducting an investigation into the irregularities raised. The PPU found the council wanting, and instead of communicating it directly to council, they communicated through a general directive to all boards.  So, the council decides, well let’s investigate her too… tit-for-tat has no place in governance,” the source narrated.

Early this month, the PPU’s head Francois Brand sent a guidance note to all public enterprises’ accounting officers, in which he addressed some of the issues that were raised by Nangolo.

“The Procurement Policy Unit has received numerous requests regarding the roles of governance structures in the implementation of the Act. Further, Section 25 of the Act only outlines the powers and functions of accounting officers who are the heads of administration of public entities, and at times, governance structures feel left out in the procurement process.

“It is important to state that the main role of all governance structures in the public procurement process is to ensure effective governance and provide leadership in terms of strategy and budget allocation, and not to get involved in the actual administration of the Act, for which governance structures have no authority in terms of the Act,” the document reads.

This publication also could not get a comment from finance minister Shiimi as his phone rang unanswered, while he also didn’t respond to questions sent to him on Whatsapp.

2023-03-20  Aletta Shikololo

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