ODC Denies N$7m Claim

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek The Offshore Development Company (ODC) has denied that it owes an information technology company, Silnam over N$7 million. Responding to an urgent application made to the High Court almost a month ago by Silnam, the ODC in an affidavit presented to the registrar at the High Court on Tuesday disputes that it is liable to Silnam of N$7 million and interest thereon. The ODC board claims that it did not know about the “so-called investment” that Silnam made with ODC until last August when the ODC management informed the board. In the affidavit, the Director of ODC and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Andrew Ndishishi states that the ODC acting Chief Executive Officer Nghidinua Daniel has denied that it was party to an agreement alleged by Silnam. He claims that he (Daniel) transferred N$5 million from the funds of Silnam to the ODC account because Mabos Ortmann had informed him that ODC was going to “manage” the money. He said he did not know what management was being referred to but nevertheless transferred the amount. On his part, Ortmann admits that he was part of a discussion with Maunasamy Padachi of Silnam to invest money with Great Triangle Investment but no agreement was concluded. Ortmann also reveals that there was no mandate from the board to enter into any discussions on investments with Silnam. Ndishishi further notes that there was an oral agreement involving an amount of N$10 million, which ordinarily would be a substantial agreement that would have been concluded through legal representatives and reduced to writing. He adds that the alleged oral agreement by Silnam, which is giving rise to its claim, is also said to have been concluded between Padachi and Ortmann, who was Silnam’s bookkeeper. “It is difficult to understand how Ortmann as a bookkeeper of Silnam and a financial controller of ODC can conclude an oral agreement of the nature as alleged by Silnam.” Ndishishi says the relationship demonstrates insurmountable conflict of interest. He adds that Silnam and the individuals alleged to have been party to the alleged agreement on behalf of ODC were fully aware that ODC was not in the business of “investments”. “The powers, duties and functions of the ODC are clearly understood by Silnam as well as the ODC employees and both parties would have known the legislative parameters within which the business of the ODC can be conducted.” While Ortmann, an employee of ODC served as a bookkeeper for Silnam, Phillip Namundjebo, also a senior employee of ODC, is a board member of Silnam.