Wednesday 12 May 2021
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Troubled NAC wants new headquarters


•    Board term lapses
•    Jooste, !Naruseb divided over NAC board’s fate

Namibia Airports Company wants new headquarters, a project which comes at a time when the company’s leadership is being investigated for corruption and tender irregularities.
Critics have questioned the company’s decision to advertise the tender while the board is on its way out instead of waiting for the new board to start the process afresh.

NAC this week floated a tender for financing the construction of the NAC head office.
“The NAC hereby invites interested parties to submit their Request for Proposals for financing the construction of the NAC Head Office situated at Eros Airport.
The interested parties must demonstrate the required financial capacity,” read newspaper adverts in local newspapers.

However, Leon Jooste, Minister of Public Enterprises, could not be drawn to comment on issue yesterday, saying: “This matter is currently under discussion in Cabinet – I can therefore not share any details.”
The Patriot asked if Jooste was aware that NAC advertised a tender calling for interested companies to bid for the construction of its new headquarters and whether it is advisable for the company to continue advertising the tender seeing that the current board’s term ends today, or wait for the announcement of a new board before calling for tenders.
This publication also wanted to ascertain what Jooste has lined up to fix issues at NAC related to alleged corruption and tender irregularities.
The outgoing board members are Ndeuhala Lewis, Marthinus Boshoff, Frieda Aluteni, Panduleni Shimutwikeni and Agostinho Victor.

Cabinet sources have indicated that the decision whether to reappoint the board or appoint new members has divided Jooste and Minister of Works and Transport Alpheus !Naruseb.
“The issue was discussed during the Deliberative Cabinet meeting and it ended up in a deadlock because the two ministers could not reach an agreement.
The matter is now reserved for the decision-making Cabinet, which is chaired by the President to decide the fate of the current board,” said the source.
Jooste is said to be in favour of a completely new board while !Naruseb is said to be lobbying for the retention of some of the board members.

NAC is currently riddled by allegations of tender irregularities and corruption and the Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating the company’s leadership.
Jooste recently revealed that he is now responsible for supervising public enterprises in the commercial sector, of which NAC is included. NAC was formerly under the control of !Naruseb.
NAC’s tendering controversies were laid bare last year forcing the Presidency to terminate the controversial N$7 billion Hosea Kutako International Airport expansion deal because tender procedures were not followed. The tender was awarded to Chinese-owned firm Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Corporation.

However, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (Group) Corp Ltd is challenging the cancellation of the airport tender in December last year by President Hage Geingob and is asking the High Court to uphold the award of the tender.
As in the past, the NAC invited expressions of interest regarding the project. A formal tender process was not undertaken.
Subsequently, complaints have been aired through legal practitioners to the Minister of Works and Transport, seeking redress.

The Namibian reported recently that the deal, worth around N$7 billion, was awarded by the Namibia Airports Company for the construction of a new international airport without the blessing of the Office of the Attorney General, which is supposed to approve the agreement before it is signed.
The report further quoted Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein confirming that Treasury was never consulted before the agreement was signed, meaning, NAC did not only ignore the Office of the Attorney General, which has to check the legal document before putting pen to paper, but the parastatal also signed the N$7 billion agreement with a Chinese company without consulting the Ministry of Finance, which is supposed to fully fund the project.

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