Insider trading claims taint NamPower tender
The recruitment of a senior NamPower manager into the ranks of a South African based company that has emerged as the frontrunner for a substation tender worth hundreds of millions of dollars has raised suspicions that he may have passed on inside information on the bid, before leaving the parastatal.
Jurgen Senke, this week denied having leaked any information to his new employer CONCO Namibia, who are headquartered in Midrand, Johannesburg.
However, NamPower insiders, who expressed their displeasure over Senke joining CONCO a few months after the deadline for tender submissions closed in November last year, said he was privy to inside information on the bid, as the parastatal’s former Senior Manager of Project Management and Implementation - a position he had held since 2005.
Prior to Senke’s recruitment by CONCO, NamPower had invited tenders for the construction of the Kunene Substation near Ruacana, and the extension of the existing Omatando Substation near Ongwediva.
Sources at NamPower say 12 companies tendered, but only three were shortlisted, including CONCO, which is competing alongside Siemens and Radial Truss Industries (Pty) Ltd.
“He joined the company, which was his client in the NamPower position he held. Who knows what he has been feeding this company? Knowing the specifications of the tender, he joined the company to give inside full information on what NamPower is looking for in a bidder.
“And we have a policy that prohibits conflict of interest,” one NamPower source said.
According to the rules and regulations of the NamPower tender and procurement policy, no employee shall be affiliated to any company tendering for work at the parastatal.
“No employee shall be allowed to tender for a project in which that consultant, his/her firm or subsidiary were involved in the development or formulation of the specifications for that project or where his/her access to inside information, which in the sole discretion of the Tender Board, can be regarded as a conflict of interest or which shall be considered to be or create the impression of insider dealing,” the NamPower tender policy states.
Another source told the Windhoek Observer that Siemens tendered N$497 million, while Radial Truss tenderedN$450 million, leaving CONCO, and its N$244 million bid in pole position.
“They tendered lower than all the other bidders we have received for this project, that already tells you that Senke gave inside information,” the source alleged.
However, Senke denied having leaked inside information to CONCO.
“Yes I work for CONCO now, but it is not true that I gave them inside information. When I realised that the tender had closed, I recused myself from all the evaluation processes involved. In fact, the pricing decision of this tender was only done this year, when I was already gone.
“Initially, when I saw the job vacancy with CONCO on LinkedIn, I recused myself. There is no way I could have directly leaked inside information to this company. How did you get to know this even? This is confidential information, which you (the media) are not supposed to know.
“This is just a witch-hunt against me; people that told you this are just doing it because I am not there to defend myself. Is this going to be in the newspaper,” Senke quizzed.
Local businessman, Leake Hangala, owns a 25 percent stake in CONCO Namibia.
In a telephonic interview with the Windhoek Observer, Hangala denied knowing Senke.
“Yes I have shares in CONCO, but I do not know who Senke is. I cannot speak on behalf of CONCO and I do not participate in their management of things.
“Is CONCO in trouble? Look, whoever has given you this information is not trying to tarnish CONCO, but Leake Hangala directly,” Hangala said.
CONCO is already busy with three NamPower tenders, namely the Zambezi Substation, Gerus Substation and Omburu & Objikoto 220 kV Shunt Voltage Compensator.
NamPower Technical Division Human Resource Officer, Paulina Angala, said Senke had been employed at the parastatal since February 2005.
“He is no longer with us, his last day at NamPower was on 18 March this year,” Angala said.
CONCO Namibia Managing Director, Martin Prinsloo, confirmed that Senke works for the company, but denied any conflict of interest.
“Yes he is working for us now, but listen, I was the one who submitted the tender documents for that tender, and not him. There is absolutely no conflict of interest. We did not get any inside information whatsoever.
“All the technical aspects and the presentation at NamPower, I am the one who did them all,” Prinsloo said.
Questions sent to NamPower’s Manager of Corporate Communication and Marketing, Tangeni Kambangula, were not answered.