18 March 2019

Namibia: Nac Acting Boss' N$1,2m Vehicle Expenses

Namibia Airports Company (NAC) acting chief executive officer Lot Haifidi is being forced to cough up N$1,2 million for vehicle maintenance and fuel claims for which he has failed to produce any proof.

This has been revealed in two letters by NAC's finance and administration manager Verengai Ruswa to Haifidi.

The maintenance claims were spent throughout four years: The 2015/2016 financial year, 2016/2017 financial year, 2017/2018 financial year and 2018/2019 financial year while for fuel cost covers three years, namely, the 2016/2017 financial year, the 2017/2018 financial year and 2018/2019 financial year.

In a letter dated 20 February 2019, NAC said they communicated with Haifidi in September 2017 to provide substantiating documents for transactions, but their request was not answered.

"We have noted with concern that the above-mentioned vehicle (Land Cruiser 4.2D, registration number N88033W and Mercedes Benz ML500 (N147-549W) in your possession incurred significantly high maintenance costs over the past four financial years with a total cost of maintenance recorded.

"We further note that communications have been previously sent to you requesting substantiating documentation for your motor vehicle transaction. Ruswa sent the latest of these on 19 September 2017. These requests went unanswered.

"While it may be acknowledged that there may be eventualities that may result in unexpected costs of repair, we would like to register that these costs are significantly higher than what would ordinarily be expected," the letter reads.

During the financial year 2015/2016, the maintenance cost was N$214, 308. 25, as for financial year 2016/2017 it was N$468, 233.77, for 2017/2018 financial year it was N$248 199,20 and for 2018/2019 financial year it recorded N$95 218,16.

"Pursuant to the board resolution on this matter dated 14 December 2018, all necessary supporting statements and invoices must be furnished to the finance department to justify the costs of maintenance on your vehicle.

"Kindly note that in terms of the same resolution, should we not get the above documentation, NAC will seek to recover all costs from you without any further notice," the letter further reads.

Another latter to Haifidi, dated 28 February 2019 says NAC board resolved on December 2018 that Haifidi settles all outstanding amount simmediately unless documentary evidence is provided. According to the letter, Haifidi is only allocated 4 800 litres as per the NAC car scheme policy.

"We have noted that the abovementioned vehicle assigned to you has incurred excessive fuel costs over the past three years, exceeding the 4 800 litres allocated to you annually per the NAC car scheme policy.

"Pursuant to a board resolution dated 14 December 2018, NAC requires you to settle the outstanding amount immediately, unless sufficient documentary evidence that these costs were incurred in the course of the performance of your duties can be furnished no later than 8 March 2019.

"We are glad to provide you with the stannic card statements should you require them.

"In light of the same resolution of the board, NAC will be compelled to recover the amounts outstanding should you fail to provide the above documents," the letter says.

NAC board of directors re-appointed Haifidi for a second time as its acting chief executive officer and strategic executive for corporate governance after former presidential adviser, Albertus Aochamub, resigned in August last year.

Aochamub served as NAC's acting CEO from 5 February to August 2018.

Haifidi came under fire in September last year, when it was reported that he had failed the 'fit and proper persons test', which makes him unsuitable as the accountable manager.

NAC board chairperson Leake Hangala yesterday said the matter has not been reported to him yet.

"I cannot comment unfortunately, this is still news to me. It was not reported to me yet, and perhaps the matter is still at operational level," Hangala said.

Haifidi confirmed receiving the letters last week on Wednesday.

"I am in the process of formulating an official response to the unsubstantiated allegations contained in those letters," he said.

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