By Staff Reporter
A former manager of resorts at the Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) has come out to claim that ousted Managing Director Zelna Hengari paid out some N$8 million dollars to a law firm she appointed without following procedure.
The ex-Gross Barmen manager who declined to be named for fear of retribution said the payments dated back to 2013 and were made to Tjitemisa & Associates, a law firm said to be owned by Jefta Tjitemisa.
Tjitemisa’s appointment is being contested on the ground that NWR had a lawyer already in the person of Richard Muller.
The Patriot gleaned on a letter written to public enterprises minister, Leon Jooste dated August the 13th 2018 which discloses that the lawyer was tasked to carry out investigations “on (a) frivolous disciplinary hearing which could have been addressed internally should there be grounds to charge any employee.
What I want you to understand is Hengari picked a lawyer from Tjitemisa Legal firm from the same clan of the Hereros without adhering to procedure because before the lawyer was appointed, Hengari was instructed by the board to advertise that tender for the local law firm to vie for it.
There was supposed to be six legal firms then you take them to the board which would do the vetting and appoint the lawyer. Instead of that Hengari went to the lawyer and then they agreed (that she) appoint Tjitemisa without knowledge of the board.
There is no letter of appointment for Tjitemisa. Then NWR has so far paid Tjitemisa N$8 million just to conduct the internal disciplinary hearing while NWR is having a Human Capital Manager, a Labour Relations Officer and competent manager that could do that. Even for junior staff, Tjitemisa came in and claimed a lot of money,” said the ex-manager.
However, when The Patriot approached Tjitemisa he refuted the allegations as baseless and claimed that to the contrary he has been charging NWR less than what he is entitled to “considering my seniority”.
He confirmed that he is still offering his services to the entity although he works on an ad hoc basis, “meaning that whenever there is a case which they want me to attend to, they engage my services.
Wow, there is no truth in that. May be they have to provide you with supporting documents that you can rule and acquaint yourself with the allegations. I have all along been seeing your reports, but I opted not to act onto that as I know that there is no truth.
But I reserve my rights, when the time is appropriate I will consider taking action because I am now being dragged into alleged corruption activities without any basis. Our fees are regulated,” said Tjitemisa.
However, Gabes Andumba, a Napwu unionist who is privy with NWR affairs told The Patriot that Tjitemisa’s appointment was indeed questionable.
“This (appointment) should be known by the board and (it should) pass a resolution for that appointment.
So I did not know whether the board did come to a decision of passing a resolution to appoint (Tjitemisa). That much I don’t know.
But I have the minutes which I think is clear during the chairmanship of Ms. Namoloh that they are supposed to advertise and go through the tender. But I do not have the resolution which is saying it was advertised and went through the tender,” he said.
The Patriot is informed that what some NWR employees want presently is termination of Tjitemisa’s contract and the return of the “illegally spent” monies.
“Employees want the company to follow procedures in appointing the company lawyer as per minutes,” said the source.
Meanwhile, the ex-manager also said the then manager now head of operations, Sebuloni Chicalu ignored the board directive to advertise for a tender for the procurement of legal services.
When approached for comment, NWR’s communications manager, Mufaro Nesongano said, “As a matter of principle and good governance, we, unfortunately, do not discuss contractual issues and client-business relationships in the media.
This is the same principle that applies to institutions world-wide. We see this for instance in the same manner as to how commercial banks do not divulge client data to the public as it is privileged and confidential information.”