Outgoing Namibia University of Science and Technology Vice Chancellor, Tjama Tjivikua, who over the last 24 years has built a reputation as an educator and administrator of note, stands accused of trying to wiggle his way out of paying more than N$1.4 million in brokerage fees he allegedly owes to young entrepreneur, Tommy Tjarondo.
In an interview with the Windhoek Observer on Tuesday, the 31-year-old Tjarondo claimed that the esteemed professor has for the past three years used every trick in the book to avoid paying him 10 percent in fees after he brokered a deal between unnamed Chinese investors and Tjivikua and his wife in a multi-million dollar housing project in Khomasdal.
Tjaronda said the initial agreement was that he would be paid 10 percent of the value he would have created through securing investors who would pay the City of Windhoek N$19.5 million for a piece of land secured by Tjivikua measuring 10.3 hectares in Khomasdal along Otjomuise road.
Tjivikua and his wife, Neavera, through their company Waterberg Investment, roped in Tjaronda to secure investors for their project after they had failed to pay the municipality for the land that was allocated to them in 2014 through a tender.
The sale of the plot is said to have been cancelled twice by the municipality because of a lack of funds until the Chinese investors secured by Tjaronda came on board.
“The value I created was N$19.5 million [that was paid by the Chinese investors to the City of Windhoek] so that we do not lose the land,” Tjaronda said.
He said Tjivikua first tried to rob him of dues by saying that there was no agreement between the two after the investors had paid the land purchase price to the City of Windhoek through a Special Purpose Vehicle.
“We started going back and forth in his (Tjivikua’s) attempt not to pay or rob me of my money. We then negotiated 8 percent [of the N$19.5 million] and at some point I drew the line. I told him that he cannot say that the money is too high because you do not do that once the deal is done.
“I put my foot down, and at that point he realised I was not playing. I told him 7.5 percent and that’s it, and that is how we walked away with what we agreed.”
Tjaronda said the agreement was never in writing, but he has phone records of Tjivikua’s wife admitting that they had an agreement.
He further claimed that after the initial attempts to rob him of his dues failed, the Tjivikuas then changed their tactics.
“The amount being due is not debatable anymore, but what they are now trying to do is dispute the due date by trying to push it further. They are now saying, we owe him, but the due date is on phase 1 and on his (Tjivikua’s) profit.
“Why would I agree to such terms? He says I am supposed to get 3.5 percent of his profit in phase 1 which is estimated at N$8 million. The question then becomes, why pay me in phase 1 because we agreed that I am getting paid for the value I have created? I have created the entire value, not part value. These are now all the efforts they are employing to avoid paying me.
“I came and did what he could not do, the land was cancelled twice, and therefore I have created value because if there was no land, there was no value.”
The Chinese investors are said to hold a 60 percent stake in the project with the Tjivikuas controlling the rest.
The matter has since escalated to the Windhoek High Court where the Tjivikuas are trying to gag Tjarondo, who has been on a crusade to expose the couple’s “shady” dealings on social media.
Despite his publicised financial troubles, the Windhoek Municipality is reported to have approved last year a plan for Tjivikua to build a township that will accommodate 307 plots in Rocky Crest.
According to The Namibian, Tjivikua received another piece of land through a public-private partnership deal with the municipality in which he gets the land free from the city, services it, and then can sell it.
This type of deal has been criticised in the past by city executives for enriching property developers.
The land, measuring 43 hectares is in Rocky Crest along the Western Bypass buffer, west of Pionierspark Extension 1.
Tjivikua's company wants to service 307 plots, of which 254 will be for residential purposes. There will also be two business plots, three plots for a pre-primary school, church or kindergarten and a community hall.
Contacted for comment, Tjivikua said he was in a meeting, and promised to call back, but have not done so by the time of going to print.