Friday 18 June 2021
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Thieme faces NCCI onslaught

Controversy refuses to leave Namibia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) after claims of conflict of interest directed towards the chamber’s president Sven Thieme emerged for his intimate links with a private fishing firm that provided office space to NCCI.
In a letter written to NCCI earlier this month, the Walvis Bay branch accused Thieme of conflict of interest after NCCI resolved to setup a satellite office in a cargo container on the Hangana premises.
Thieme confidently stated that he does not see any conflict of interest, but NCCI’s Walvis Bay Branch is adamant the NCCI leadership’s 2017 resolution to setup an NCCI satellite office on the premises of fishing giant, Hangana Seafood, gives the fishing company a competitive advantage and access to competitors’ information.
Hangana Seafood (Pty) Ltd is a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List Group of Companies which is chaired by Thieme.
This, according to the branch President Johnny Doeseb, was done without alleged consideration for the inherent conflicts of interest because Hangana is an exporter of fish and makes use of export service providers.
It is also alleged that such a move gives Hangana unlimited access to the services of NCCI and it will have access to confidential information provided by customers.
Thieme admitted that he was part of the meeting that resolved to setup a satellite office at Hangana’s premises, saying: “Yes of course and the board is fully aware.”
Taking refuge behind confidentiality provisions, Thieme refused to be drawn into a discussion on any perceived conflict.
“I was approached by the NCCI to see whether I could make available an office free of charge at Hangana or one of our operating companies in Walvis Bay. This was to be able to implement the national council resolution to centralise the administration over the issuance of the certificates of origin as well as implementing the decision to have one centralized bank account as recommended by the auditors,” explained Thieme while responding to questions from this publication on the allegations levelled against him.
He further explained that: “In fact I had to consult internally and obtain support for making such facility available because we actually do not have that space available. Many of the corporate members provide services etc. to the NCCI to be able to fulfil its mandate as it is currently short funded.”
Thieme said NCCI makes use of the facility at no cost.
The NCCI president said despite his position at the chamber, Hangana receives no special treatment and it is treated like any other NCCI member.
He did however indicate that he had reservations about such a move because it “burdens our company (O&L) to make such facility available.”
He said there were other optional facilities, however at a significant cost and also not with the security that Hangana provides.
Doeseb also alleged that such a move gives Hangana unlimited access to the services of NCCI and it will have access to confidential information provided by customers.
To this, Thieme responded: “Explain how? There is absolutely no way that Hangana can benefit directly nor will it have any access to any information and there would be no commercial benefit at all.”
“The new office will not accept cash but direct deposits into a centralized account for control reasons and proper governance. An NCCI employee is in charge of the independent office,” said Thieme.

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