In an interview on Thursday, Kapofi said although he had not spoken to Ilukena about the matter, he considered the fact that Ilukena failed to declare his interests a very unfortunate incident.
On Thursday, a local weekly quoted Ilukena claiming ignorance of the fact that a company co-owned by his wife took part in a tender he participated in in his official capacity as a member of the Tender Board.
“You cannot say that you don’t know the interests of your spouse in a company which has tendered for a job at your ministry. As a permanent secretary who sits on the Tender Board you are expected to declare any conflict of interests.
“At the beginning of each process you are asked to declare any interests, so how does one manage to bypass this process,” Kapofi questioned.
He further remarked that although there was no specific law prohibiting Ilukena’s wife from applying for the tender, one should use common sense to assess what is ethically correct and what is not.
IIukena yesterday made a desperate attempt to put out fires surrounding his involvement in the controversial N$47 million food tender which was controversially won by a company partly owned by his wife.
The Tender Board awarded the catering tender to Namibia Cattle Country Food Services in which Ilukena’s wife Wendy Ilukena was a shareholder.
Ilukena stated that his wife had resigned from the company in December last year, although documents with the Ministry of Trade and Industry list his wife as a shareholder.
When asked what happened to the shares, Ilukena said he did not know why the documents at the Ministry of Trade did not reflect that his wife had resigned from the company.
However, Kapofi did not accept Ilukena’s excuse and said that resignation or not, if he had been in Ilukena’s position he would not have been so ignorant that he would not be mindful of the need to avoid dealing with that specific tender.
The annual budget of the Ministry of Education would have clearly shown the budget item for the tendering contract, making it impossible that Ilukena was not aware of information pertaining to the tender before his wife resigned in December.
Interestingly, Ilukena’s identity on the certified company documents appears as Wendy Mwange Mwiyu instead of her current marriage surname Ilukena.
When questioned why his wife had omitted her current surname from the documents, Ilukena said, “I don’t know whether there is a law that stops people from using whatever surname they want to use when doing business deals”.
Ilukena admitted to being part of the ministerial committee that presided over the awarding of the tender.
He did this in direct contravention of advice from his own minister David Namwandi who had advised him not to award the tender for unspecified reasons that the permanent secretary refused to disclose.
Despite the minister’s advice, Ilukena went ahead and sent out a ministerial recommendation to the Tender Board that resulted in his wife’s company winning the tender.
“The minister may have had his reasons, which I fully agree with, but I would rather discuss it internally with my minister instead of speaking to the public about it,” he said.
It has also emerged that Namibia Cattle Country Food Services subcontracted the tender to companies owned by officials working within the ministry.
Asked about the involvement of the education officials, Ilukena became visibly irritated.
“When I received the documents how would I know that they were connected to the education ministry? Is there a law that says that their companies may not tender,” he snapped.