10 August 2012

Namibia: Katonyala's Decisions May Be Invalid

DECISIONS made and implemented by the chairperson of the Namibia Airports Company, (NAC) Ndeudala Katonyala, on administrative matters at the company may be illegal and invalid.

During an investigation conducted into the allegations made against Katonyala and the chairperson of remuneration committee, Frieda Aluteni, also a board member, it was found that an official, Gregory Lukowski, was appointed to serve as special advisor to Katonyala.

The remuneration and board meeting held on April 11 and 17 discussed Lukowski's employment contract where it was found that he is unable to assist the CEO on NAC projects.

He was then appointed to serve as advisor to the chairperson of the board, but there is no provision in the law for the chairperson of NAC board of directors to appoint a personal advisor.

It was recommended by the investigating committee that Lukowski's employment contract with NAC, serving as advisor to Katonyala, be terminated immediately. It is further recommended that all money paid be recovered from both Lukowski and Katonyala.

Another issue was the signing of a memorandum of understanding between NAC and its counterpart in Germany, Fraport.

The reason for signing the MOU was that Fraport set up a strategic plan at the cost of N$500 000 for NAC.

Despite the fact that Katonyala was briefed about the visit of NAC's Chief Executive Officer, Ben Biwa, and a board member, Dr John Steytler, to Germany, the chairperson gave a final written warning to the CEO after he returned to Namibia.

According to the investigating committee the MOU is an administrative document which is not legally binding and does not have any cost implications for the company.

It was established that the board, during its meeting on 8 February this year, did not resolve to give a final warning to Biwa. "The issuing of a final written warning to the CEO by the chairperson is therefore tantamount to victimisation and direct interference into the administrative operation of the company by the board or chairperson," read the report.

In addition Katonyala and Aluteni allege that they were not afforded the opportunity to reply to allegations against them. They requested for "an insight into the report to be compiled for our input where such may be necessary".

A copy of the letter addressed to the chairperson of the Investigating Committee, James Sankwasa, was also sent to Works and Transport Minister, Erkki Nghimtina.

According to the committee, the copying of the letters to the minister was to pre-empt the findings contained in the report and to cast negative aspersions on the final outcome of it.

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