‘ODC Did Not Sacrifice Ortmann’

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry Andrew Ndishishi says the Offshore Development Company (ODC) decided to suspend its Financial Controller and Head of Administration Mabos Ortmann because he committed the company to a N$7-million debt to Silnam. Ndishishi said Ortmann wrote a letter to Silnam last year May to confirm that the ODC owed them money while he knew it was not true. “Ortmann lied and he was wrong to write to Silnam without consultation of the rest of the management.” Ndishishi said he confronted Ortmann to ask him why he wrote the letter and claimed that Ortmann said he only wrote it because Silnam wanted to close its books. Ndishishi said Ortmann, who was also the bookkeeper at Silnam, knew that ODC was not an investment company or a financial institution and thus could not write such a letter to Silnam. “ODC did not sacrifice Ortmann, he should have known better.” The PS noted that the investigation of the Silnam investment also revealed that Ortmann was heavily involved in the money transfer dealings. “Ortmann knew that Silnam invested its N$5 million straight into the Great Triangle Investment bank account.” Ndishishi also questioned why the suspended ODC Chief Executive Officer Abdool Aboobakar allowed Ortmann to do extra work for Silnam while he was employed by ODC. He also noted that the ODC is reconsidering its relationship with Silnam following the outburst in court. “As a 26 percent shareholder, we are seriously thinking about whether to continue the partnership or not.” Commenting on Tuesday’s court ruling for ODC to pay Silnam N$7 million, Ndishishi said although ODC respects the court’s verdict to pay them, ODC also expects Silnam to give them their share. “Silnam is celebrating now but they owe us money as shareholder and they must pay us.” Ndishishi also revealed that investigations into the missing N$100 million are at an advanced stage. “We have good information about what happened to 80 percent of the money and we are about to wrap up the investigations.” He said he is against the liquidation of the ODC because he wants to recover the money and find out what exactly happened to it. “If we cannot recover the money at least the people who signed off the investment must be held accountable for it.” Ndishishi said ODC is still in a healthy financial position to honour some of its obligations. He refused to comment on the remarks made by the judge in court that he was a liar, but said the court was unfair in refusing to grant them a postponement. He also questioned why the court did not bring Pieter Boonzaaier to court despite the ODC making such an application. “There is a guy who is walking around with N$12 million in public funds but the court is not doing anything to him.”