Ya France Acted in Best Interest of NBC – Minister

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By Emma Kakololo CHAIRMAN of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Board of Directors Ponhele ya France who also doubles as de facto Director-General (DG) at the national broadcaster has been widely criticised for assuming his junior’s position which he vacated upon suspension and ultimate resignation. Ya France immediately took up the reins following the suspension of the corporation’s former DG Gerry Munyama last month, and according to critics this was not a best practice as it leads to a conflict of interest. Munyama threw in the towel and resigned from the public broadcaster on November 25, 2005 after being suspended as DG for alleged fraud and theft of N$346 000. At press conference on Wednesday, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah acknowledged the concern saying the Ministry together with the NBC Board was looking into the matter. However, Nandi-Ndaitwah maintained that Ya France’s taking up the DG position was done in the best interest of the corporation because the NBC needed someone to immediately replace Munyama. “This was the best the board could do, because we could not have a vacuum. That particular minute when Munyama was suspended, they needed someone to fill the position. I am in a process together with the board to look in the matter,” she said. She assured NBC’s employees that the matter was being addressed, adding that despite what happened, the NBC continued with normal business. “I am disturbed by what is happening at NBC, including Cabinet. As minister in charge, I have been following the situation … NBC is one of the key public instruments. No one can imagine to be in Namibia without NBC,” she said. Calling for unity among employees she said: “Only through unity can a solution be found.” When approached for comment, Ya France shared Nandi-Ndaitwah’s sentiments that the corporation was going through a crisis and something urgent needed to be done. He said when Munyama’s case came up, the board was not sure about who to trust because some of the managers could have been involved. In the best interest of the corporation, Ya France said, a decision was taken for the board to take over the corporation, hence the chairman taking charge. “The fact remains, we found ourselves in a very big crisis. We also did not know whom to trust. “Management could probably be part, therefore a decision was taken that the board should take over. And as you know, we suspended our General Manager: Technical Services Ruben Prinz,” said Ya France.

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