… splurges N$40 million on 43 managers
By Eliaser Ndeyanale
Struggling state-owned entity Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) is splurging millions on executives.
The Patriot has established that NIP, which last year got a government bailout of N$30 million, is spending N$40 million on its 43 senior employees.
Internal documents seen by The Patriot show the extent of NIP’s spending for the last two years.
In 2017 NIP splashed N$35 million on its bosses while at the same time offering them a collective salary increment of N$2,9 million.
Last year (2018) the diagnosing pathology service provider offered the same people a combined salary increment of N$3.1 million.
Damning documents reveal that last year, at the time when NIP was suspending executives, including the now-expelled chief executive officer Augustinus Katiti, he received a salary increment of more than N$100 000.
Documents further show that in 2017 Katiti got an annual salary of N$1.8 million (N$151, 413.71 monthly) and got a salary increment of N$101,750.
His other five suspended executives namely Valerie Garises, (Chief Technology Officer), Harold Kaura (Chief Operations Officer), Cleophas Mbahijova (Chief Financial Officer), Jennifer Kauapirura (Chief Strategy, Business Development Officer) and Monika Pendukeni (Chief Human Capital Officer), each got a monthly salary of N$87,898 in 2017 (N$1,05 million per year).
Last year, the five got their salaries increased to N$92 000 per month which translate to N$1.1 million per year while the other 38 senior employees also had their annual salaries shifted to between N$700 000 to N$1 million.
Boniface Makumbi who is now acting Chief Operations Officer takes home N$1 million per year (N$83 000 per month) and is a senior manager for technical operations.
According to a letter written by Pendukeni to the board chairperson, Dr Diina Shuuluka on 25 June 2018 prior to her suspension, there were two consecutive years when management did not receive a salary adjustment while non-management did.
“As a result thereof, adjustment received by general staff category spilled over to the packages of management staff, which resulted in employees in D1 and D2 receiving a less package as compared to junior staff in Grade C5,” she said.
The spending spree at NIP is in direct contradiction with the finance minister, Calle Schlettwein’s plea to cut costs.
Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) is currently in a stand-off with NIP’s management for having breached an agreement signed in 2017 to increase junior worker’s salaries with 10% including N$200 transport allowance, and a 35% increase in the housing allowance.
To date, the board and acting management have not yet fulfilled their signed agreement.
NIP insiders raised the alarm about the fat salaries questioning the logic behind them.
Napwu representative, Nestor Kapofi, recently accused NIP management of arrogance and being too stubborn to implement the salary adjustments.
“Who is fooling who, and who are you trying to hold hostage?” he asked, as he read the workers’ petition.
“We will not allow the board and acting managers to treat us as slaves while we are committed to our duties.”
The workers noted that the demonstration comes after their last meeting with management in which they were informed that they would not be receiving their salary adjustment for the 2019/20 financial year.
However, Kafidi who is now acting chief human resources officer wrote to Shuuluka on 26 February this year acknowledging the agreement between NAPWU and NIP of a 10% increment on basic salary, N$200-00 per month on transport allowance and 2% increment on housing allowance for the 2019/2020 FY for employees in the A1 to C5 (senior managers) bands.
Ironically, he said the exclusion of management staff in D1 to EU (top level management) bands in the agreement would “potentially worsen the salary overlapping situation if no salary increments are given to managerial employees.”
He added that in previous years, management salaries have been adjusted on the basic salaries while they get paid on total cost to company.
“Whatever percentage agreed upon between staff for adjustment should also be allocated for adjustment to Management members at their total cost to company remuneration.
The aim is to keep consistency, internal equity and avoid future salary encroachment,” read the recommendations.
At the demonstration, Kapofi said NIP was busy paying the salaries of the suspended executives, current acting managers, lawyers handing the cases, [and the] board, all equally collecting their sitting allowances while it arrogantly and stubbornly fails to implement the salary adjustments that were lawfully negotiated and signed.
The workers demanded that the 10% salary increment be implemented within five working days, otherwise they will refer the matter to the labour commissioner’s office for arbitration.
Furthermore, they asked that NIP stop creating unnecessary managerial positions, limit managerial travelling, and that the forensic audit conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) be released and shared with them immediately.
Contacted for comment this week, Nghipandulwa denied the hefty salaries saying they are not accurate.
“That’s not true. That information is not accurate,” she said but declined to comment on the accurate figures of the salaries. “I cannot tell you that because I have not seen the documents you are having.”
The acting CEO also refused to comment on the issue of junior employees’ salary increments saying the matter is being dealt with by the board.
Although Nghipandulwa denied the amount, the board spokesperson Frans Kwala said NIP’s wage bill stands at N$21 million per month which according to our calculations stands at N$252 million a year.
“That information will be provided by the office.
I have no clue on that.
What I know is the wage bill p/m is N$21 million,” he said.
Minister of public enterprises Leon Jooste said his ministry is looking into the matter “as we speak”.
“I just received more information on their salaries and their financial position which we will have to review.
On your particular question of N$40m on 43 managers, I will make sure that we specifically look into that component of executive remuneration as we go through this process,” he said.