THE scandal prone Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia) has spent N$3.9 million in board and retainer fees in just six months, the Windhoek Observer has established.
Investigations by this newspaper revealed that Namdia spent the millions on its board from August last year, when it was appointed, until end of February this year.
The Namdia board comprises of Chairperson Shakespeare Masiza, Deputy Chairperson Tania Hangula, National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) Technology Manager Bonny Konjore, economist Lorentha Harases, human resources professional Florentia Amuenje, geologist Venondjo Maharero and the Chief Legal Adviser in the Attorney General’s Office, Chris Nghaamwa.
The company sells diamonds on behalf of Government on international markets.
During the period under review, Masiza was paid N$616,000, which translates to just over N$102,000 per month, while Hangula was paid N$577,000 or N$96,000 per month.
The other board members were paid N$560,000 each or N$93,000 per month.
Hangula is also the Board Chairperson of the Development Bank of Namibia, despite reports of her lack of academic qualifications and skills.
According to the 2010 remuneration framework, which divides SOEs into three categories -Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 - sitting allowances on the upper quartile per annum is N$42,320 while the annual retainer fee is N$76,649.
Ministry of Public Enterprises Chief Public Relations Officer, Johnathan Swartz, said the ministry does not have insight into the affairs of Namdia, as it resorts fully under the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
“The Ministry of Public Enterprises’ current position concerning Namdia is that the entity is not an SOE as per Schedule I of the Public Enterprises Governance Act (PEGA) and we have not been informed about salaries or board fees. The Ministry of Mines and Energy should, however, consult us on the matter, but this has not taken place yet,” Swartz said.
When contacted for comment last month, Masiza denied that the above-mentioned figures were correct.
“The figures are not correct. I can tell you that it’s not true,” he said, while Hangula said she was not authorised to speak to the media.
“I am not aware of that, but the chairman and the CEO are the ones authorised to speak on behalf of Namdia.”
Nghaamwa also refused to comment on the matter and referred questions to Namdia CEO Kennedy Hamutenya.
Usi Hoebeb, a PR consultant for Namdia, said the figures were not correct, but refused to give the correct details.
“Board member fees are published in the Namdia Annual Report 2016/2017. This report is yet to be tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Mines and Energy, Honourable Obeth Kandjoze and is therefore not yet a public document.”
She, however, confirmed that Namdia board members were receiving a retainer as well as sitting allowances.
“They receive sitting allowances once per quarter as board meetings are held once per quarter. They also receive retainers because they are called upon intermittently to do work on that level.”
N$30 million more
for head office upgrades
Namdia executives have also been accused of splurging N$30 million on the property for the company’s head office, which was valued by Standard Bank Namibia at N$25, 8 million.
The building, situated in Klein Windhoek, is currently being renovated at an estimated cost of N$30 million.
In the meantime, the company has set up base at Maerua Office Towers, where it is paying N$42,000 per month in rental fees, according to documents seen by the Windhoek Observer.
Controversy continues to stalk the newly established diamond marketing and sales company. In July, the Windhoek Observer reported that the John Walenga co-owner of C Sixty Investments, has been sending invoices to Namdia for work not done.