The Meatco board has been forced to drop two of the four charges it had leveled against its suspended Chief Executive Officer, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro.
This comes after the meat processing and marketing company’s board suspended Rukoro in May on allegations of misconduct.
The charges dropped include an allegation that Rukoro gave an unnamed Cabinet minister preferential treatment when it came to the purchasing and slaughtering of his cattle in the Kavango region.
In addition to the charge, Rukoro was accused of having influenced the decision to advance a N$200,000 payment to the minister for his cattle, exposing the company to financial risks.
According to the charges, his conduct frustrated the operations of the company, the business trust and its reputation.
The second charged dropped pertained to alleged derogatory, offensive and disrespectful remarks he made against certain and collective members of the Meatco board and government.
Rukoro had pleaded not guilty on both charges.
In an interesting development, Rukoro, who still faces two further charges, has been accused of not being fit to continue leading Meatco because of his obligations connected to his role as Paramount Chief of the Ovaherero people.
The charge comes despite the fact that the company board sanctioned the placement of an advertisement in various newspapers congratulating Rukoro on this appointment.
In the hearing scheduled to continue next week, Rukoro will also be charged for accepting his appointment to the MMI Holdings board without the Meatco board’s approval.
Rukoro’s lawyer, Jefta Tjitemisa told the Windhoek Observer on Thursday that the decision to drop the two serious charges proved that the Meatco board does not have a case against his client.
“Obviously they do not have a serious case against him and this was shown when the two charges were dropped after we argued against them. These are the charges that were used to suspend him,” he said.
With regards to his role on the MMI board, Tjitemisa said Rukoro received approval from the previous board, with the condition that he should not be remunerated for his role as Paramount Chief.
“These are just flimsy charges. Initially they wanted to drop the remaining two, but we understand they want to use the two to justify the suspension,” the lawyer said.
Contacted for comment, Rukoro confirmed the dropping of the two charges and questioned the continuing of the hearing despite the charges which directly pertain to his job, having been dropped.
“The hearing continues next week, but the charges they had previously accused me of, have been dropped,” he said when contacted by the Windhoek Observer.
The suspended Meatco boss has had a tumultuous relationship with the Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun-led board, which received a new mandate to lead the meat processor until 2020.
The board previously tried to have Rukoro suspended and eventually fired, but an intervention by Public Enterprises Minister, Leon Jooste, stymied their attempts.
Jooste announced at the time that his ministry, which is charged with supervising the operations of public enterprises, will no longer tolerate spurious and indefinite suspensions of PE heads.