National Housing Enterprise chairman Sam Shivute on Tuesday said the institution’s board of directors rejected any insinuations that any of its directors are conflicted or compromised in the exercise of their duties.
Shivute was responding to a petition from NHE managers on 9 April that claimed a conflict of interest of Shivute as Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) commissioner and another director Oscar Capelao as chief financial officer of First National Bank.
However, addressing the issue at a media briefing on Tuesday, Shivute noted that the identified directors were appointed during the course of 2015, with these “supposed conflicts” having existed at the time of their appointment.
Said Shivute: “It is, therefore, noteworthy that alleged conflicts are only relevant at this juncture and were never flagged as a contentious matter.
Additionally, the board remains guided by the Namcode and other governance protocols to manage conflicts arising, which have at all times been observed and of which management is well aware”.
“The managers are alleging that the chairperson is conflicted because NHE is a taxpayer. What a pity? Managers ought to be aware of the provisions of 19(1) of the enabling Act, which exempts NHE as a taxpayer. Therefore, concerns surrounding the potential conflict can be discarded and this should provide good governance assurance to the concerned parties,” said Shivute.
Addressing the allegations against Capelao, Shivute explained the board considers it frivolous to insinuate commercial banks are a competitor of the NHE when the offerings provided fall within distinct categories of the housing value chain.
Shivute added that during the tenure of the current NHE board, deliberate focus was placed on the enterprise’s high liabilities, with the aim to reduce them and place the company in a better position to refocus on its mandate execution. Said Shivute: “Debt stood at N$533.8 million but have now been reduced to N$ 149.4 million to date. The overdraft facility is being reduced with N$2 million every month and currently stands at N$29 million. It is a known fact that the enterprise is operating with limited financial resources. Multiple factors disabling the generation of sufficient revenue and loan book are also attributed to a suppressed economy, coupled with Covid-19”.