THE minister of fisheries and marine resources, Bernard Esau, says he will order a forensic audit into a fishing company co-owned by Oshana Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa.
The Namibian reported yesterday that in 2012, Oshana Marine Enterprises decided to give some of its shares to three churches in the Oshana Region.
Despite having invited the minister, there is lack of clarity on whether the plan took off or not, as it was aimed at redistributing an unallocated 42% stake in the fishing firm.
The minister confirmed that he had received the invitation and responded to the shareholders of Oshana Marine about their intention of giving two shares each to the three parishes.
If the proposal which the company pitched to the minister is still active, the parishes will be entitled to dividends for the financial year ending this May.
Share certificates were promised, prepared and seemingly signed but not issued.
"I was surprised and shocked that the churches did not get the certificates as I was told," the minister said.
"Action will be taken, and a probe will be undertaken. We need to gather the facts first," Esau said.
He said shareholders from Oshana Marine never informed him that they had dropped the proposal to give shares to the three parishes.
The company wrote a letter to Esau explaining its intentions and at the same time inviting him to go and present share certificates to the churches.
Esau responded to them on May 23 last year, applauding them for their initiative since it would enable other Namibians to benefit from the fishing resources, but could not attend the ceremony.
The Namibian is in possession of shares certificates that are not signed by a secretary, which show that Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin) churches were stipulated as shareholders, namely Oniimwandi Elcin Church, Elim Elcin Parish and Iipanda Yaamiti Elcin Parish.
Some pastors at the three Elcin parishes say they were formally informed that their parishes would be shareholders but have heard nothing since.
Esau said that he would address the matter of shares at an upcoming meeting with the fishing industry at the coast.
"We want to see harmony, protecting the minority and we are not there to enrich those who are rich. We want to make sure that [the] masses are empowered," he said.
Oshana Marine Enterprises is one of the new companies that received fishing quotas in 2011.
Abner Nambombola, one of the founders of the company, says the proposal to give shares to parishes in the Oshana Region was objected to by other shareholders.
Kashuupulwa declined to respond to detailed questions sent to him.
Oshana Marine received dividends of N$709 000 and N$600 000 respectively in the past two years.
The Namibian has reported on the internal squabbles in the company, where there are two camps fighting over share allocations and dividend sharing.
There have also been allegations that Kashuupulwa removed some of the founding partners of the company without their knowledge.