14 November 2012

Namibia: LIH Skirts Mutjavikua, Muheua Matter

LABOUR Investment Holdings (LIH) has decided to lay criminal charges against Erongo Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua and Deputy Minister of Labour Alphäus Muheua, but none of the board members was willing to confirm or deny it.

The Namibian was sent from pillar to post in search of official confirmation of rumours that the police would arrest the two sometime this week.

Deputy chairperson of the board Elifas Dingara, who sources said had chaired the board meeting last Wednesday, yesterday claimed that he was out of town the whole of last week and was not aware of such a resolution.

Board members Wilbard Usiku, David Namalenga, and treasurer Barbara van der Westhuizen all said they were not authorised to speak to the media and referred The Namibian to Dingara, who they said “usually takes charge of board meetings”. Neither of them could confirm that Dingara had chaired the meeting.

LIH board chairperson Elia Manga would also not comment, saying that he did not attend the meeting and had not yet been informed of any resolution taken by the board last week.

Board members Stella Louw and Abel Kazondenge could not be reached for comment.

But sources close to LIH said the board had indeed laid criminal charges against Muheua and Mutjavikua.

The two were suspended from the board in March on charges that they had forged the minutes of two board meetings to get the LIH to buy shares in MobiPay.

As a result of this decision, LIH, which is the business arm of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), sold its 10% shareholding in Nam-mic Financial Service Holdings at N$10 million, and paid N$8 million for its shares in MobiPay.

Muheua and Mutjavikua had previously vehemently denied the allegation, and both denied having any interests in MobiPay, although Mutjavikua was said to have been the board chairperson of MobiPay.

Muheua yesterday sounded flustered by reports that he might be arrested on criminal charges, claiming that there was a concerted witch-hunt against him and Mutjavikua.

“What else can I call it?” he suggested.

“Dingara and Namalenga hate me with a passion. At the congress [the last Swapo Party congress] they said people should not vote for me. If it was not for President [Hifikepunye] Pohamba, I would not have been in the Central Committee or in Parliament. They are dragging my name through the mud so that I won't go to congress. That is what they want.”

He added: “I do not see how inadvertently signing two sets of minutes can constitute fraud. I have never used a lawyer in my life, but I am waiting for the police to come and arrest me and then I'll take action. I was presented with a stack of board minutes and I could have signed two sets of minutes, but I am not aware of any other charges.”

Muheua said he had never been approached to verify anything since the investigation into the alleged wrongdoing had started after his suspension from the LIH board, and that he was only presented with a three-page questionnaire a month ago, which he duly filled in.

Sources said both Muheua and Mutjavikua were given the opportunity to respond to the allegations against them.

“I have not done anything wrong. I know that I am innocent,” Muheua said and insisted that the decision to buy into MobiPay was a sound and transparent one in which all board members had taken part in.

“We have compared benefits of Cell Card [a product spearheaded by Nam-mic] and MobiPay was far better. We had to divest from Nam-mic because the agreement between LIH and Nam-mic was that we would not compete in the service sector. That is what happened,” Muheua said. Mutjavikua could not be reached for comment.

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