….as Shifeta orders board to probe Hengari
Disgruntled Namibia Wildlife and Resorts(NWR) employees have asked for Minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste’s intervention into the “company’s status quo and the manner in which the Managing Director conducts herself”.
The Patriot is in possession of a complaint written by whistle-blowers to Jooste listing a number of allegations against Hengari, subsequently asking Jooste to investigate employment and financial irregularities at the parastatal.
In the letter authored by staff members at the head office of NWR and its campsites, a request is made by “concerned employees” to Jooste on 13 August 2018, where the group asked for Jooste to probe Hengari for allegedly holding forged qualifications, abuse of subsistence and travelling allowances and her alleged involvement in allowing NWR to rake up a legal bill of about N$4 million in less than three years.
“We the employees of NWR herewith submit our deepest concern with the status quo in the manner the Managing Director conduct herself to looting the company to its complete shutdown with impunity,” wrote the workers.
The Patriot has it on good grounds that Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta has ordered the company’s board to probe explosive claims made by the NWR workers.
Shifeta confirmed dishing out the orders but refused to reveal more details regarding the scope of the probe.
“I saw the grievance letter written by the employees and I have instructed the board to probe the matter.
For now I do not want to say much, I am waiting for the board to give me feedback at the appropriate time. I do not want this to be seen as a witch-hunt, hence I tasked the board to lead the process,” he said.
Shifeta said the probe will be a challenge because those who penned the letter have not revealed their identities.
The employees want the MD to be probed for giving directives to all employees to take leave or else forfeit their leave days while she[Hengari] sanctioned a pay-out of about N$198 000 for her own leave days.
They also want answers on why NWR spent close to N$3.8 million on a single law firm between June 2014 and May 2018. They claim most of the disciplinary hearings which were conducted by the Tjitemisa & Associates law firm could have been conducted internally.
They further allege that between 13 January 2014 and 8 March 2018, Hengari, Martin Kantika(General Manager ICT) and Zandry Haimbodi(Chief Risk and Audit) and Elago Ipinge(Manager ICT) racked up an S&T bill of N$3.5 million.
The employees also want to know why Hengari was never charged for alleged breached of confidentiality after the company had hired Sauls&Co legal firm to formulate charges against her in 2012 when she allegedly leaked confidential company information to the media.
Jooste confirmed receiving the letter and said the allegations will not be ignored.
“Yes, I received the letter this letter and we consulted internally on this. I will engage Honorable Shifeta and we will agree on the way forward. We never ignore allegations of this kind and the discussion will rather revolve around the most appropriate way to look into the matter”
It said that although it listed a few high-profile cases for investigation, there were similar cases involving junior and middle management staff, despite the company struggling financially.
In fact, sources close to Hengari who spoke to this reporter claim there is a witch-hunt against her while others claim there is a well-orchestrated internal campaign to sabotage Hengari’s efforts to grow the parastatal.
Hengari has in the past told The Patriot that all procedures regarding the pay-out for her leave days were followed.