7 January 2019

Namibia: Schuckmann Rejects Nac Top Job

Accountant Werner Schuckmann rejected the offer to be the Namibia Airports Company's chief executive, forcing the parastatal to restart its search for a new boss.

The Namibian reported last month that Schuckmann wanted the parastatal to pay him N$2,6 million a year to lead the troubled institution.

It is unclear why and when Schuckmann rejected the top job, but sources familiar with the matter said NAC officials raised questions about his salary demands in December 2018.

Transport minister John Mutorwa confirmed to The Namibian yesterday that NAC board chairperson Leake Hangala informed him that Schuckmann turned down the position.

Mutorwa said the NAC decided to headhunt for a new chief executive.

"We, as government, supported that plan," he said. Mutorwa said in the meantime NAC has the option to re-advertise the position if the plan to headhunt the chief executive fails.

Hangala and Schuckmann did not respond to questions sent to them over the weekend.

Cabinet approved Schuckmann's appointment as NAC boss in November 2018, but the board had to approach him with the financial offer to finalise the appointment.

However, there were concerns by NAC insiders that Schuckmann's N$2, 6 million demand was N$1,4 million more than the paycheque received by the previous airport boss.

The perks he wanted, sources said, consisted of a yearly N$2,6 million salary, including benefits.

The other demands included a N$60 000 entertainment allowance, N$10 000 cellphone allowance, 50% bonus and 36 leave days to run the financially troubled parastatal, which manages eight airports across the country.

Hangala declined to comment in December about the salary negotiations, but two people with direct knowledge of this matter confirmed to The Namibian at the time that Schuckmann asked the NAC board this month for several perks worth more than N$13 million over five years.

Sources said these demands were contrary to NAC policy, which states that a CEO should be on probation for six months, receive a 30% bonus, N$10 000 entertainment allowance, and N$1 500 cellphone allowance.

Schuckmann's demands were seen by some NAC insiders as extreme and would break the government's public enterprises directives, which dictate how much parastatal bosses should earn.

Former NAC acting chief executive Albertus Aochamub qualified for a N$1,1 million annual salary, which equals to N$91 666 per month, excluding deductions.

Aochamub's N$1,1 million package excluded the company vehicle, entertainment allowance, cellphone allowance and a N$366 000 performance bonus.

According to a Government Gazette issued in April last year, a chief executive at NAC should not earn more than N$1,3 million a year.

Schuckmann, who did not want the story about his salary negotiations to be published by The Namibian, told this newspaper last month that he could not comment in detail on the matter.

"I've been approached [by the NAC board], and negotiations are ongoing. Until such time that the contract is signed, I'm not the CEO of NAC," he said.

Schuckmann worked, among others, as managing director of commercial and industrial products and services at Bidvest Namibia, and as finance general manager at Air Namibia.

His decision to apply for the NAC top job pushed him into the limelight.

A person familiar with this matter questioned Schuckmann's sudden rise to prominence, with his name frequently appearing on appointment lists of strategic parastatal boards.

He was appointed as a temporary board director at the Roads Contractor Company in June last year. Schuckmann was also on information minister Stanley Simataa's list of possible MTC board directors that was rejected by Cabinet last month.

Sources said he was furthermore considered for an Air Namibia board position and was a target to be TransNamib's chief executive last year.

The NAC has been a hotbed for allegations of corruption, bribery and fraud. Seven people have served or acted as NAC chief executive since 2013. The NAC had not had a chief executive since 2017 when its former chief executive Tamer El-Kallawi stepped down after facing corruption charges.


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