THE National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) was left with egg on its face after paying N$2,2 million meant for a Malaysian supplier into a wrong account in Estonia late last year.
Namcor managing director Immanuel Mulunga confirmed yesterday that the money meant for Hyrax Oil which won a N$2,2 million (US$172 000) tender to supply lubricants in October 2017, had been lost.
He claimed that people purporting to be Hyrax Oil sent an email, informing them about the change of their banking details.
When Namcor realised that Hyrax had not received the payment, Mulunga said, they enlisted Interpol, Standard Bank and PwC's help to investigate the matter.
The investigation concluded that the money had been lost, and would never be recovered.
"It did not happen to Namcor alone," he said, "but has also happened to three other companies in the world."
Since Hyrax Oil had not been paid since 2017, Mulunga told The Namibian that the board had approved another payment of N$2,2 million that was paid yesterday.
According to him, the board was aware of the issue since they had approved the payment of the lost N$2,2 million. Namcor's former board chairperson Patrick Kauta also confirmed the disappearance of the money, adding that "ask them what happened to the money".
"I am no longer there. It will only be fair if you ask the current management. But if you need confirmation, then I will say yes, the money is gone.
Please ask them what happened to the money, please ask them," Kauta told The Namibian.
Asked who should be blamed or take responsibility, he said management should take responsibility for what had happened.
Public enterprises minister Leon Jooste said he was not aware of the matter.
"I have not received any information on this item, but we will not hesitate to investigate the matter if these allegations are evidence-based," Jooste stated.
Hyrax Oil won the supply tender ahead of eight companies - Oilflow, New Vision Lubricants Industry, Sasol, Fuch Oil, BP, Afrilube and ENI Lubricants.
The company replaced Sasol Petroleum, which has been Namcor's long-term supplier of lubricant products.
The Sasol agreement expired in June 2017, and was extended for six months, pending the results of the bidding process to look for a new supplier at the time.
The Kauta-led board suspended Mulunga, together with IT executive Bonifatius Konjore, in December 2017 over the Hyrax Oil deal.
Mulunga was investigated over allegations that Hyrax Oil's Namibian agent, Alex Wayne, was his friend, while Konjore became a person of interest after he accompanied Mulunga to Malaysia.
Mulunga was reinstated in January 2018.