Health permanent secretary Dr. Andreas Mwoombola has hit back at claims that he is corrupt, and in the process also accusing health minister Dr. Bernard Haufiku of attempting to sway tenders to certain companies.
Haufiku has been on a crusade to have Mwoombola removed from the ministry. The endless fight between the two is still a surprise to many, especially considering the fact that Haufiku headhunted Mwoombola to join the ministry in 2015.
“For a long time I have kept my silence on this matter due to the respect that I hold for the Hon. Minister. Recent events have brought to the fore unfounded allegations and verbal attacks against my person by Hon. Dr. Bernard Haufiku, Minister of Health and Social Services. At this stage, I now find it necessary to release a statement to state my side of the story and to get to the core of the issue from my perspective,” said Mwoombola in his hard-hitting 21-point media statement aimed at clearing his name.
Mwoombola accused Haufiku of interfering in the ministry’s procurement processes which could have dire consequences for the minister and the Ministry in general.
According to Mwoombola, Haufiku has on several occasions cancelled tenders via SMS on the WhatsApp platform from Europe that are already in the running without valid reasons being proffered, as if there is undue influence.
“He has also requested me to provide him with draft tender documentation for specific projects for his review.
This is unusual for a person in his position. He has also directed me to consider specific companies for tender award, without following due process, which is in violation of the Public Procurement Act No.15 of 2015). I declined these requests,” said the embattled PS who is currently being investigated by the ACC.
He added: “I have on several occasions refused to comply with such requests, which I believe has caused the breakdown in our professional working relationship between our offices. I could simply not do things that have elements of corruption entrenched in them and that constitute unethical practice.”
Haufiku yesterday refused to comment on Mwoombola’s press statement, saying only: “If he has prove that I tried to sway tenders then why did he not report it to the Office of the Prime Minister or the Anti-Corruption Commission?”
Mwoombola said since his appointment he has never attended any tender committee meetings or involved himself in any adjudication processes with regard to tender awards.
“My role is to merely approve what is recommended to me by the relevant committees entrusted with these processes as per the Public Procurement Act.”
Upon joining the ministry, Mwoombola said his vision was to deal with challenges that were facing the Ministry and my mission was to provide integrated, affordable, accessible, equitable, quality health and social welfare services responsive to the needs of the Namibian population.
He says he is being made a scapegoat because the minister wants him removed.
Mwoombola has been accused of financial mismanagement, irregular tender awarding, and potential conflicts of interest.
“These allegations are false and lack substantiation. I strongly believe in the justice system and out rightly challenge the Hon. Minister to allow the disciplinary process to run its course without undue interference and without premature unfounded statements being made before any pronouncements are made,” he said.
Mwoombola said Deputy Minister Juliet Kavetuna has attempted to mediate in order to restore a cordial working relationship between our offices and setting aside their personal differences.
A meeting was held on the 15th of May 2017 but the meeting did not yield any positive results due to Haufiku’s unwillingness to deal with the matter privately and fairly, claimed Mwoombola.
“It is unfortunate that our relationship has deteriorated to the point that it has become personal on the part of the Hon. Minister. There is definite ongoing victimisation and employer-employee relationships should be mutually respectful in order to realise productivity in the service of the Namibian public,” he said further.
Mwoombola said he has on several occasions raised the issue of Haufiku’s unbecoming conduct.
“The Hon. Minister has a tendency of yelling at me in the presence of my subordinates. He has created a culture of yelling. This behaviour is abusive. These constant verbal attacks have become very personal and are degrading and I find myself helpless in this situation,” Mwoombola said.
Haufiku allegedly also chased Mwoombola out of his office on several occasions and shouted at him in the presence of his subordinates.
“It is regrettable that the Hon. Minister has made it his mission to destroy my reputation by wittingly distorting the facts and labelling me as corrupt to ensure that I am fired.
His constant yelling is not only a personal insult to me but it is a tenet of his leadership style. The yelling in the presence of my juniors’ is extremely disruptive towards our team efforts. As if not enough, the Hon. Minister has made it his mission to make me irrelevant within the Ministry by giving instructions to my subordinates on operational matters,” said Mwoombola regrettably.
Mwoombola says Haufiku does not understand certain dealings of the Ministry as far as Administrative and Managerial matters are concerned.
“I have also noted with great concern the manner in which Hon. Minister interferes in operational matters concerning the Ministry. I strongly believe that such interference has caused the breakdown of relationship between our offices.”