Knives out for Naanda

19 September 2014 Author  

front Naanda19 SeptIN a fashion similar to the removal of the Managing Director (MD) of Air Namibia Theo Namases, the new board of TransNamib appears to have adopted the same strategies to oust MD Sara Naanda.Barely four months after resuming office,  the new board has already started stripping the incumbent MD of certain powers, such as the signing rights to major contracts.

The board also recently excluded her from one of its meetings.

In a move allegedly driven by the TransNamib Board Chairperson Peter Oosthuizen, the board has formed a tender sub-committee in addition to clipping the MD’s wings.

Sources at the company see the tender sub- committee, which the board has entrusted with reviewing all tendering processes related to the company, as an unwarranted interference by the board and an overstepping of its general oversight function.

Inside sources further revealed that after excluding Naanda from their last meeting, the board later handed her with a ‘to do list’ of things to implement.

The new board appears to have set itself a mission from day one, as the board chair also declined to meet with the outgoing board for an official handover of duties.

Former board chairperson Festus Lameck confirmed on Monday that the new board chairperson did not give his board the opportunity to conduct a formal handover.

“No we did not have an official handover or anything of that sort. What we understand is that the new chairman informed management when they wanted to arrange for a handover that it was not necessary because the minister had properly briefed him about his mandate.

“Therefore, he did not meet with us and we don’t know what mandate the minister gave him,” he said.

Lameck stated that he always had the impression that a handover served the purpose that it allowed for the repositioning of a company where the outgoing board could tell the incoming board what it had accomplished, the challenges it faced and the relationship going forward.

“Now how does the minister do that as the shareholder, when he has not run the company,” Lameck questioned.

Sources at the parastatal said they see the board’s action as just the beginning of a ploy to frustrate Naanda out of her job.

The fact that the Minister of Works and Transport appointed the board and it was accountable to him has already raised suspicion that the new board has carried out all its irregular activity on his instructions.

The immigration status of board Chair Oosthuizen, who is currently the Group Manager of Revenue Projects Management at the Namibia Roads Contractor Company (RCC), has come into question, with uncertainty as to whether he is a South African or American citizen as rumour has it.

Questions sent to Oosthuizen regarding this matter, the refusal to partake in an official handover from the previous board, and whether he had previous board experience and what his rail and road experience was went unanswered at the time of going to print.

Sources within TransNamib this week remarked that considering the challenges experienced by the company, they expected to see a board with a sound understanding of rail and road operations at a strategic level.

While it is not clear what Naanda has done wrong, early warning signs show that she is likely to face the same fate as suspended Air Namibia MD Theo Namases.

Namases is on her third consecutive month of suspension, following what is believed to have been a coup d’état spearheaded by her board chairperson Harold Schmidt on the instructions of Nghimtina.

Both women could also find themselves in the same boat as the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Namibia Airports Company (NAC) Ben Biwa, who Nghimtina also got rid of through his board chair Ndeuhala Katonyala.

Naanda did not answer calls to her mobile phone when contacted for comment.

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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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