WINDHOEK – The state-owned tourism resorts management company, Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), has come out strongly in support of its managing director Zelna Hengari, saying recent reports that hint at mismanagement of funds and absence of corporate governance at the parastatal are devoid of truth.
The NWR spokesperson Mufaro Nesongano issued a statement to say that at no point did NWR chairperson Ambassador Leonard Iipumbu indicate that Hengari was paid out her leave days without the board’s approval – and that such reports misrepresented Iipumbu and created a false impression of a breakdown in corporate governance at NWR.
“The facts are that the managing director, Hengari, worked at NWR for close to a decade as a company secretary. When she was appointed as managing director in 2014, she had to resign from her previous position as a company secretary and sign a new five-year performance-based contract with the board as managing director – this applies to all affected staff members whose contract of employment comes to an end,” said Nesongano.
“The board, therefore, and in accordance with legal advice received, paid her outstanding leave days which accrued and were due to her in terms of her old permanent employment contract as company secretary. In any case, it would not have been sound corporate governance for the new board to appoint someone as a substantive managing director and then send her on extended leave as a result of days accrued in her previous role as company secretary,” he said. Hengari became acting managing director in February 2013.
Nesongano also says the current NWR board has provided decisive and professional leadership to NWR thus far. He points out that the board has appointed Hengari as substantive managing director “with whom the board continues to have an excellent professional relationship, mutual trust and support. She, in turn, has strengthened her management team considerably.”
The board has also completed a strategic audit carried out by PWC, which resulted in an Integrated Strategic Business Plan that the board approved and submitted to the shareholder at its annual general meeting held on June 7, 2017.
He said the current board and MD brought the company in compliance concerning statutory requirements such as annual financial statements that at that stage were in backlog. “All financial years that are due for statutory external auditing have been audited and financial statements are ready for submission at the forthcoming AGM planned for the end of August 2018,” said Nesongano.
The other critical area was the conclusion of the long delayed joint venture agreements to set the company on a path towards financial sustainability. “This was done within the remit of the law and policy, and NWR’s view is that having secured financial stability, it needs to seek financial sustainability as a key strategic goal,” said Nesongano.
He says the board continues to maintain a relationship of mutual trust and support with the government as the shareholder with whom it regularly consults in the course of its work. “This relationship of mutual trust was recently reaffirmed when the shareholder decided to transfer the dormant Zambezi Waterfront & Tourism Park to NWR to operationalise, with or without a public-private partnership and joint venture. NWR regards this as a vote of confidence in the board, management and staff of NWR and an acknowledgement of its hard work,” he said.
“The suggestion that its partner, Sun Karros, is such because of political connections or purported links with the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, is devoid of truth,” emphasised Nesongano.
He says Sun Karros has been a trusted partner of NWR since 2006. “Daan Viljoen and Windpomp 14 at Mile 14 stand as testimonies to their capacity to deliver time-tested services and products. Daan Viljoen stands today as an example of a PPP that is successful compared to other PPPs that were previously awarded by NWR. NWR shall seek out many more such partners to grow the tourism sector, and it shall also actively seek the involvement of the youth, women and marginalised communities,” he said. New Era Reporter
2018-07-26 09:53:18 | 2 years ago