Lionel Matthews, who was recently appointed as interim managing director of the state-owned National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor), said he declined to take up the top position because of potential damage to his brand and family as a result of "falsehoods and media sensationalism".
Matthews was appointed as acting managing director of Namcor following the suspension of the company's managing director Immanuel Mulunga in April.
In a media release yesterday, Matthews said the media and various public personalities made misleading statements which have left the readers with the impression that he is corrupt, dishonest and greedy, which is not the case.
He said his appointment as Namcor's acting managing director came after he was approached by the chairperson of the Namcor board of directors, Jennifer Comalie, to assist Namcor on a temporary basis. He agreed to take up the position.
After that, he said, following negotiations with the minister and Namcor's board of directors, they agreed to his salary for the term that the board wished to appoint him. He said his monthly salary as acting managing director of Namcor was pegged at the same level as that of Mulunga.
Matthews said he accepted this offer, clarifying that he did not decline the offer because of a breakdown in negotiations surrounding his salary, as reported in the media. "On account of the potential damage to my brand and family given the many falsehoods created and media sensationalism, I took a well-considered decision to subsequently decline the Namcor offer and guard everything I have worked for, despite the many attempts to tarnish and ruin my reputation," he said.
Matthews also denied media reports linking him to a consortium called Fullbright Investments and Omahooli Solutions. He said he never worked for Fullbright Investments, nor does he have any interest in the entity.
"I was never a party to any tender that was awarded to Fullbright Investments," he said. It was reported that Fulbright Investments and Omahooli Solutions won a N$1 billion contract to build, finance, operate and maintain oil depots for Namcor, the company Matthews was appointed to lead.
The tender involves the construction, operation and maintenance of Namcor fuel storage facilities at Ondangwa, Gobabis and Windhoek for 15 to 20 years.
Matthews was listed as a transactional adviser for a consortium called Fullbright Investments and Omahooli Solutions.
The media reported in April this year that Nedbank financed Ongos Valley, a housing development project in Windhoek, while Matthews was the managing director of Nedbank. He said this was done by Nedbank as an institution, not by him because of any relationship he may have had to influence the deal as managing director. "It is unfortunate that Nedbank Namibia, an impeccable financial institution I worked for, is now also dragged into this and its name and, or reputation probably brought into disrepute without any substance and, or credible justification," Matthews said. He also denied media reports suggesting anything beyond a professional relationship with Comalie.
"I have conducted myself and my career with utmost integrity and honesty and have worked tirelessly to achieve the credentials and experience I have for over 30 years." He said various media reports have created a narrative that was false, misleading and defamatory.
"I, as a citizen of this country, enjoying equal rights as enshrined in our Constitution, reserve my rights herein to take any appropriate action at my convenience against anyone I may find to have deliberately peddled lies to defame me, without any effort to determine the accuracy of the facts before publication."