…For leave days
The Board of Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR)says its not aware that the company’s managing director Zelna Hengari received a N$200 000.00 pay out for leave not taken. In what appears to be a shocking and flagrant disregard for governance procedures, it has emerged that Hengari approved her own leave payout and at no point provided evidence that this has been approved by the Board. Questions have been raised about a N$200 000 cash pay-out cash bonus paid to Namibia Wildlife Resorts’ managing director Zelna Hengari in April for leave days accrued despite the financial position of the company.
When she directed employees in August 2017 who have accumulated leave in excess of 60 days to take leave, while she also had excess leave days, Hengari clearly had a well-crafted plan because she already had a plan to facilitate her pay-out and that hundreds of thousands were due to flow into her bank account.
A cheque requisition, seen by The Patriot, confirmed the pay-out to Hengari few days after, just days after the 31 March deadline.
The exact payment to her was N$198,033.48.
Employees were given from 24 August 2017 to 31 March 2018 to take leave or risk forfeiting their leave day.
“It has come to my attention that staff leave days have accumulated in excess of what is contained in the Labour Act 11 of 2007 and also in violation of what is contained in the NWR conditions of service. All employees who have erroneously accumulate leave in excess of 60 days shall take leave from date of this notice until 31 March 2018, failing which the days shall be forfeited as contained in section 140 of the policy,” she wrote.
According to four well-placed and independent sources at NWR questioned the payment to Hengari and accused her position to benefit unduly.
Called for comment, Hengari did not comment and said “I am mourning the death of my mother”.
Hengari’s payment, as per the requisition, was allegedly approved by the board.
NWR board chair Leonard Ipumbu said he is not aware of the payment.
When this reporter put it to him that there are talks that the board approved the transaction, Ipumbu said: “I really do not know what you are talking about, this is news to me.”
“Why is the preferential treatment for MD, she forced us to take leave but she gets a pay-out, the board must explain this unethical practice. By the way, since when do people get paid for their leave days while they are still employed at a company. It is sad to note that the head of the company opted for a pay-out while knowing very well the financial position of the company,” said an internal source.
Confidente previously reported that when Hengari was appointed Managing Director all NWR employees were bombarded with emails of a derogatory nature towards Hengari while others accused her of having bogus educational qualifications.
“That woman is basically living in fear with no protection at all because ever since she was confirmed as MD we believe she has known no peace. We have received countless emails that have been claiming that she is not qualified and so forth,” sources had told Confidente at the time.
Addressing staff members in 2014 on claims she possessed fake education qualifications, Hengari told NWR employees via email that the claims made are a campaign aimed at tarnishing her image.
“This is an old story that also appeared in the media sometime ago. It contains no truth whatsoever and it is part of an ongoing campaign to tarnish my person. I served NWR competently as a Company Secretary and now as an acting MD[back in 2014]. The work that we collectively embarked on in terms of advancing NWR speaks for itself. I remain focused on that and I encourage you all to remain focus,” she said back then.
But despite the seasonal disputes at NWR, Hengari has largely been credited for steering the once loss-making entity into a commercially viable one.