1 October 2018

Namibia: Don't Be Personal, Mutorwa Warns Executives

Works minister John Mutorwa told the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority's board not to let personal differences influence decision-making by both the Namibia Airports Company and its regulator.

The minister said this in a letter dated 22 September in response to a 7 September letter to him by NCAA board chairperson Kosmos Egumbo.

"Personal differences must not at all influence the making of rational, fair, just, objective, professional and legally sound decisions by both boards and their chief executive officers," Mutorwa advised.

The letter exchange is part of an ongoing war of words between the NAC board and its regulator's executive director, Angeline Simana, mainly over the appointment of Lot Haifidi as acting chief executive of the airports company in early August.

Haifidi, according to Simana, had to go through a fit and proper persons' test to be considered an accountable manager for the parastatal.

Haifidi took over from Albertus Aochamub, who was removed from the position in anticipation of him being assigned a diplomatic posting.

Mutorwa reminded Egumbo that parastatals "should not operate above boards at all".

"I strongly reiterate my earlier advice and directives to both the NCAA and NAC that state-owned enterprises are state companies, and not private businesses," he wrote.

Egumbo had told Mutorwa that the board met on 7 September to review Simana's decision, and found that the regulator had "omitted one step in the subsequent procedure".

"The entire fit and proper persons' test was effected as prescribed," Egumbo said, adding that they had taken corrective measures.

Egumbo further informed Mutorwa of a need to strengthen their internal checks and balances to "avoid similar mistakes".

The NAC's lawyers, Kangueehi and Kavendjii Incorporated, wrote to Simana on 4 September that her decision to fail Haifidi was unlawful as she did not follow the correct procedure.

The lawyers then asked Simana to provide the records of the test in another letter dated 7 September.

On 7 September, she admitted to the NAC board that the regulator "in an error of process" did not comply with the Civil Aviation Act.

Simana also apologised to Haifidi for any inconvenience "the error may have caused".

She could not be reached for comment last week as her phone went unanswered, and she did not respond to the text message sent to her.

Haifidi did not comment, saying he was in a meeting and would revert to The Namibian.

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