Tuesday 11 May 2021
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NIP’s N$400 000 Italian job

…as Katiti fights suspension


In a 2016 letter authored by former NIP board members, Karen Wenzel von Oberholzer revealed how the company spent N$400 000 to send five senior NIP staff to Italy to evaluate furniture.
In the letter, authored to then board chair Mandela Kapere, Wenzel von Oberholzer said she did not want to extend his term because the attitude of NIP boss Augustinus Katiti is not “compatible with the principles of good governance”.
Wenzel von Oberholzer said Katiti was on record saying NIP will never pay dividends to government because “they waste money.”
The Patriot has seen a quotation of N$5.9 million made out to NIP by Italian-based office furniture dealer and distributor, Uffix.
The furniture comprise mostly of chairs, desks, tables, storage units and sofas was purchased for its new headquarters.
Katiti was suspended this week by the board.
His legal team, Metcalfe Attorneys on the 19th June wrote to the board chairperson Diina Shuuluka saying his client was suspended “unceremoniously and without substantive reason”.
He also claimed that Shuuluka has a “very personal conflict of interest pertaining to Mr. Katiti”.
Metcalfe said Katiti provided a full and comprehensive reply with full disclosure of all information requested after an internal audit report was carried out which made several allegations against him.
“It has been discerned from investigations by the writer that the decision to suspend Mr. Katiti was presaged upon informal discussions by some board members prior to 17 May 2018. Some explanations by the proponents of Mr. Katiti’s suspension is required when our client is suspended some eight months after the Internal Audit Report was presented to the Board of Directors. It is obvious that some ulterior motive exist for such suspension,” said Metcalfe.
Metcalfe said only three board members consulted with the Minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste, further indicating that health minister Bernard Haufiku is not in the country for proper consultations.
Metcalfe requested to be provided with a copy of the minutes of the Extra-ordinary board meeting held last week where it was resolved to suspend Katiti, copies of the correspondences from Jooste and Haufiku in which they sanction the suspension.
Metcalfe also challenged some of the conditions attached to the suspension which Katiti must adhere to.
Katiti was send on suspension with at least eight conditions.
This ranges from handing over all NIP properties, being available when called upon, not leaving Windhoek during working hours without permission from the board chair.
According to the suspension letter, he is also banned from talking to the media as well as from visiting NIP’s headquarters without authorization.
“You are reminded that you remain an employee of NIP and therefore, the rules and polices of NIP are binding on yourself. Any breach of the above conditions, will entitled the employer to take appropriate action,” cautioned Shuuluka.
Metcalfe argued that the board cannot force Katiti to remain in the district of Windhoek, especially because his legal team practices in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
“The time has come to halt the less then ridiculous abuse of CEOs of SOEs by self-serving individuals who serve on the SOE Board of Directors,” charged Metcalfe.

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