By Megameno Shikwambi
The Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) is yet to act on its two top managers who were found guilty of various charges of corruption at whose center is the illegal awarding of a million dollar tender to a local trucking company.
This has been confirmed sources from within the beleaguered entity.
The Patriot has gleaned documents which disclose that a disciplinary inquiry was carried out against NIP’s chief operations and Cleophas Mbahijona, chairperson of the NIP tender committee.
They were later found guilty of a string of charges including illegally awarding the tender without following due procedure.
NIP is said to have suffered financial damages in the region of N$3 152 150 by illegally awarding a N$1 million tender to a company called ST Freight Services Close Corporation.
Kaura and Mbahijona, were found guilty on a charge of breach of trust, among a slate of other charges but sources from within have confirmed that the judgement was yet to be acted on.
Former Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mekondjo Nghipandulwa was rumored to having been on her way to push for a decision to act on the two, but could not do so as the board resolved to remove her as acting chief executive.
The board has also been mired in accusations of trying to push their favourite to the CEOs position, but got stopped right in its tracks by the health ministry.
Meanwhile, the scandal also saw NIP Chief Business Strategy and Development Officer, Jennifer Kauapirura’s name being dropped in the hat. She is said to have approached ST Freight Services Close Corporation on 10 February 2016, with the knowledge of the two executives, culminating in the wrongful awarding of the tender to the company. Kaura, as Chief Operations Officer supported the approval of exemptions from tender process, the procurement in relation to specimen transportation logistics from ST Freight Services.
The award of tender to ST Freight Services was in excess of N$1 million when compared to budget. The tender committee on the strength of the presentations of Kauapirura and Kaura, granted and authorized heads of business unit concerned to appoint suitable suppliers and implementation of the project.
After the tender committee approval on 09 August 2016, Mbahijona, as chairperson of the tender committee, delivered an internal memorandum, requesting approval from the Chief Executive Officer, exemption from tender process, whilst fully being aware that the CEO had no authority to grant tender exemptions of procurement in excess of N$1 million.
The CEO is said to have approved the tender in breach of the Delegation of Powers Guidelines and the procurement policies and procedures.
The employees are further executed a memorandum of understanding with ST Freight in contravention of the contract and SLA Management Policy and Procedures, the inquiry found. Kauapirura proceeded to approve an invoice from ST Freight to NIP in the amount of N$1 882 550 in contravention of the Delegation Policy, Procurement Policy and Contract Policy. “The said amount was used to purchase four vehicles for ST Freight Services for usage in rendering transport service to NIP at a further fee, and the said vehicles were not registered in the name of NIP, instead in the name of ST Freight Services,” the documents show.
The vehicles were sourced from Pupkewitz. According to NIP, Kaura and Mbahijona did so “with full knowledge that ST Freight Services was not entitled to receive the aforesaid payment from NIP”.
According to the Inquiry, from October 2016 to March 2017 the employees either individually or collectively negotiated and approved payment in the sum of N$211 660 per month in favour of ST Freight Services.
This was payment of ST Freight’s rent, remunerations, insurance, admin and sundries, totaling N$1 269 600. This approval was beyond and above their authority and without agreement between ST Freight Services and NIP, in contravention of the Delegation policy, Procurement Policy and Contract Policy of NIP. “The employees caused NIP to be defrauded or financially adversely exposed by ST Freight Services and as a result suffered financial prejudice and/or potential thereof in the sum of N$3 152 150 or lesser amount,” the documents show.
“The said (tender) award financially exposed your employer for a period of three years from 19 April 2017 to 18 April 2020, to a monthly fee of N$211 600 (inclusive of 15% VAT), aggregating to N$ 7 617 600,” the documents by Sisa Namandje’s law firm read. The tender is said to have also been awarded without board approval.
On his own, Mbahijona has been accused of wrongfully and unlawfully approving the withdrawal and/or caused the withdrawal of N$10 million from the NIP Unit Trust Investment held at Old Mutual. He got slapped with a dereliction of duty charge.
Again on 22 June 2017, Mbahijona is said to have further unlawfully and wrongfully approved or caused the withdrawal of N$7 900 000 from the same Old Mutual based NIP Unit Trust.
The verdict delivered by lawyer Sisa Namandje on 27 August found both Kaura and Mbahijona guilty on all charges, except Kaura was found not guilty on charge 3 which dealt with breach of trust.