Since his arrest this week, Jack Huang’s relationship with President Hage Geingob has been talk of the town. Although innocent until proven guilty by a court of law, talks are rife that his proximity to power could directly/indirectly have made it easy for him to get bail.
The Patriot’s editor Mathias Haufiku in December interviewed Huang on several issues ranging from business to personal ties with the President.
Please note: This is just part of the interview conducted back then.
TP: Tell us more about your relationship with the President…
JH: I met Dr Geingob during his time as Minister of Trade and Industry. He came to Oshikango for a visit and my factory was one of the places he visited – that is how we met. I do not know whether he [Geingob] takes me as a friend but for me he is a very important figure. Our communication is not for business purposes, but for the scholarship program I run through which Namibian students are sent to China on fully paid scholarships to the best universities for studies. That is our area of focus when we interact.
TP: What about African Sunrise Investments?
JH: That is the only business we have together. We formed the company in 2014 before he even became the President. Both of us are not involved in the day-to-day management of this company.
TP: So who manages it?
JH: One of the shareholders is the son of his ex-wife [the late Loini Geingos], Helmuth. He manages the company on a daily basis. After the reports surfaced about African Sunrise we became stricter about our daily operations to ensure greater transparency.
TP: On talks that your ties with the President makes doing business easier for you in Namibia…
JH: Let me give you my very honest answer, ever since I came to Namibia I never got any state projects…not a single one! Everything I do is my own investments.
TP: But did you ever bid for any state contracts?
JH: Yes. According to Namibia’s laws we are allowed to bid as long as we obey the laws, but I can assure you that until this day we never got a Government job.
TP: So do you feel you are being unfairly targeted because of your ties with the President?
JH: Uhhhhhhmmm, all I can say is that the people who twist the truth make me uncomfortable and despondent. I know there are some individuals who want to set me up but I am confident for the future because everything I ever did in Namibia is legal and it benefits Namibia.
TP: What is your take on Chinese businessmen who are involved in money laundering in Namibia?
JH: It is not my place to comment on that but I condemn it. Namibia’s banking rules are clear and they must be obeyed. We maintain that if you do business in Namibia you must comply with the laws, therefore we condemn any illegal activities occurring in Namibia. For some Chinese businesspeople the obstacle is the language barrier. I suggest that Namibia’s customs department, banks, investment coordination centres and the Chinese business community should cooperate to enhance the promotion of laws. Government and the Chinese business community can cooperate to translate laws into Chinese languages so that more Chinese can know the laws so that they can be complia