Infighting within Namibian Airports Company’s(NAC) board was the primary reason that led to the appointment of former press secretary Albertus Aochamub as the acting head of the entity, Public Enterprises Minister Leon Jooste said.
The embattled company has undergone major leadership challenges over the past years coupled with allegations of financial mismanagement, nepotism and graft.
Aochamub replaced Tamer El-Kallawi who was suspended as CEO after strong allegations of corruption were levelled against him. The probe into the claims is still ongoing.
Commenting on the appointment of Albertus Aochamub as Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) at a business breakfast on Wednesday, the Minister shared that NAC was shrouded in allegations of corruption and mismanagement fuelled by internal grievances, hence the need for an external person to take over the reins.
“This[board infightings] created a leadership vacuum in the company which negatively influenced the corporate governance culture to the extent that staff members formed cliques and the board would appoint acting CEOs, from these different camps rotationally with each appointment.
As such the decision was taken to appoint an external neutral acting CEO just to stabilise the company, leading to the appointment of Mr. Aochamub,” he explained.
Jooste said the CEO post will be advertised, and the recruitment process will be facilitated by an external audit company to ensure transparency. For now, the appointment is to stabilise what is clearly a corporate governance crisis at one of our SOEs.
NAC recently advertised the CEO position in the local newspapers, only to cancel it after Aochamub’s secondment from State House.
It was first thought that Aochamub will return to being the press secretary in the presidency after his 12-month acting stint expires, however, his position has already been filled.
There has long been talks that the relationship between Geingob and Aochamub has soured. Aochamub’s exit came as no surprise to those in the presidency, there are unconfirmed talks that tried to resign in the past.
Aochamub could find himself jobless if he fails to land the NAC job on a permanent basis. Sources however claim that a deal has already been clinched to make Aochamub the substantive head of NAC.
“The move to appoint him in an acting capacity is a just a smokescreen to prevent public backlash, but eventually, he will be appointed as the boss,” said a source who is privy to the unfolding events.
The fundamental issues for the company remain – notwithstanding the new appointment of Aochamub. Critical decisions will have to be made around infrastructure development.
When approached this week on his plans during his time at NAC, Aochamub said it is too early to talk about NAC matters.
“It will be extremely premature to discuss matters of the NAC on day 2. I will speak in the fullness of time,” he said in an emailed response on Tuesday.
The Patriot wanted to know what his top priorities are for the company and how he plans to stop the alleged mismanagement that plagued NAC over the years.
The infrastructure limitation remains one of the main challenges facing the Namibia Airports Company, especially with the introduction of new airlines flying to Namibia.
The debate on whether there is need to upgrade the Hosea Kutako International Airport is still making rounds in the public.
Both Ondangwa and Walvis Bay airports currently face several challenges regarding their runways that needs urgent rehabilitation.
As for Air Namibia, the airport entity did not have the best of years with the national airline.
The national airline should be a key part of promotional activity that the national tourism board undertakes – experts advised that Air Namibia and NAC must work as a team.