Tuesday 13 April 2021
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Money fights rock NCCI

Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s leadership has come under immense pressure for alleged “financial and operational mismanagement” as well as “alienation of members and branches”.
A week ago NCCI members from the Walvis Bay branch wrote a strong-worded letter to both finance minister Calle Schlettwein and acting chief executive Charity Mwiya in which they accuse the chamber’s leadership of trying to usurp the powers of the branches “to access and misappropriate the well-managed finances of the branches”.
The Patriot has learned that NCCI’s Walvis Bay branch has lost faith in the current leadership, and according to the letter, the branch says the spirit of trust and cooperation has been broken.
The disgruntled branch also indicates in the letter that honesty, transparency and integrity are missing in the organisation with “fraudulent activity becoming the norm”.
NCCI’s Walvis Bay branch president Johnny Doeseb said the NCCI leadership is not transparent when it comes to accounting how the chamber’s funds are utilised.
“Instead over the past two years efforts by management and council have intensified to centralise all financial transactions and reserves for sole and exclusive use by the very same management team that has failed on critical management and financial matters. This include major changes to the Constitution of the NCCI, pushed through despite consistent and valid concerns raised. At this point, major decisions are taken at closed national council meetings without any involvement of the members or branches who represent members from the entire nation,” charged Doeseb.
Doeseb also claims that no operational or financial support is offered to the branches.
“This is despite the fact that resources are collected by the head office from national members, Government, the business community and the public at large leading to a reasonable expectation that these would benefit the entire country.
Public funds have been and are collected and spent by NCCI Head Office without providing any support to branches, while statutory tax obligations are ignored and mismanaged,” Doeseb said.
According to Doeseb, NCCI last year appointed an investigative team to probe the affairs of the chamber but their findings were shoved under the carpet.
Doeseb claims the NCCI leadership now wants to appoint a new investigating team.
Doeseb further reveals in the letter that tax records show that despite employees’ income tax deductions having been and continuing to be made from the remuneration paid to employees, monthly returns that declare the tax liability owed to the taxman are not regularly filed.
As at 9 August 2018, NCCI Head Office owed the taxman N$2.6 million.
Doeseb says the headquarters of the chamber has operated without complying to fundamental financial requirements because of its inability to account for significant variances, omissions and misrepresentation in the draft financial information. He also accused the leadership of failing to account for alleged fraud. “Despite the fact that alleged fraud was discovered in 2015 and found to be committed from as early as 2012, no forensic audit report was ever presented to members nor has there been any feedback given on measures taken to protect and recover the public funds entrusted to the NCCI Head Office,” Doeseb said.
Insiders are furious that the leadership has allowed former CEO Tarah Shaanika to leave the company without accounting for the N$500 000 loan NCCI Head Office took from the Walvis Bay branch. Documents have revealed that in 2014 the NCCI headquarters got a loan of N$200 000 from its coastal branch and a further N$300 000 the following year. N$200 000 of that loan remains unpaid. Doeseb said the leadership has failed to give adequate feedback on the matter.
He further claims that in December 2017, NCCI president Sven Thieme attempted to transfer N$1.5 million from the Walvis Branch to the head office.
“Fortunately, our bankers, based on good corporate governance, stood firm against the fraudulent attempt,” Doeseb said.
Shaanika said his hands are clean and urged those who suspect any fraudulent to report the matter to the police.
“The loan they are talking about comes from NCCI coffers, I am saying this because NCCI is a unitary body, not a centralised one. Money belongs to the entire institution. The money they make through the certificates of origin when they charge exporters for the shipping of Namibian is for the entire entity. This is a decision that was taken by the leadership and they are seemingly not happy with it. But you must remember that the Tsumeb branch did not get a share in the past despite large volumes of copper[produced in Tsumeb] exported through the port of Walvis Bay, this goes for other branches where exported goods originate from,” Shaanika said.
Shaanika said he is perplexed that the branch wrote to government seeking intervention.
Doeseb told The Patriot in a telephonic interview yesterday that his branch is still awaiting a response from head office.
“They responded informing us that they will give us a substantive response, we are still waiting,” he said. He said the Walvis Bay branch will follow all procedures to recover its money as well as to get feedback on other operational concerns.
“We do not want a media war, hence we will follow all procedures to deal with this,” he said.
Mwiya yesterday said “we are addressing the issue and we will issue a media statement”.

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