Ya France on the Hook

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By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Ponhele ya France is on the hook again, this time from a fellow board member. Apart from battling to steer clear of a controversy surrounding the short-listing of candidates for the position of Director General (DG), Ya France now stands accused of having claimed money from the corporation for a trip that he never undertook. The accusation is contained in a letter from fellow board member Gallen Kolokwe to Ya France. The letter protests the way in which Ya France conducted a meeting to short list candidates for the position of DG on January 31. Kolokwe’s letter was copied to the different stakeholders, including the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Office of the President, Minister of Justice and Attorney General and Secretary to Cabinet among others. In the letter, Kolokwe states that he wishes to draw the attention of the chairman to the recent trips he claimed to have undertaken to Oshakati and Rundu. According to Kolokwe, it now transpires that Ya France never undertook the trip but received money for the trip. “It has since transpired that you never undertook such an official visit, to which you have now requested that the corporation money you spent on your own private excursion be deducted from your sitting allowance. Is this justified?” asks Kolokwe in his letter to the chairman. “How could you have claimed such money knowing that you were not going to do the things you claimed you were going to do? If ever you met the Sambyu leaders, was there any such meeting arranged; is there any official correspondence which invited you; and why was the board not informed? he continues. Kolokwe says in the letter that the assignment should have been sanctioned by the board. He goes on to express surprise at the fact that his chairman had used his authority to acquire an expensive cell phone worth about N$6 000. “How could you, knowing the financial status of the corporation, do that?” he asks. He further takes issue with the decision by the chairman to top up the salary of the Acting DG Stanley Simataa by giving him an acting allowance contrary to his previous stated position that as part of cost cutting measures, the Government had decided to avail someone from the public service at no cost to the NBC. “Similarly, you also stated publicly that anyone acting in the position of DG would not be allowed to apply for that post. This is a standing board resolution, which was never rescinded. To everyone’s surprise, this seems to have been ignored with regard to the current acting DG. It seems you have some information which some of us board members are being denied. What is the point of saying one thing and practicing something else?” Kolokwe asks his chairman. He accuses Ya France, a former trade unionist and politician, of trying to ignore corporate procedures and the statute governing the NBC in the recruitment of a new DG. Ya France was not available for comment yesterday.

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