SOEs Beware

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Pohamba Warns Against Corruption By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK President Hifikepunye Pohamba has issued a stern warning against any State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) that wantonly misuse public assets and misappropriate public funds, saying the culprits will be harshly dealt with. He said the Government will do all in its power to ensure officials engaged in “shady or irregular dealings” will face the full wrath of the law. “I would like to warn those who make themselves guilty of abusing public assets and resources that the Government will deal with them harshly, very harshly,” stated President Pohamba. The Head of State said this when he officially inaugurated the Road Contractor Company’s own head office in Windhoek on Thursday, built at a cost of more than N$11million. A few years ago, some of the country’s SOEs especially in the transport sector were the subject of a Presidential Commission of Inquiry. Pohamba noted therefore that “some disturbing issues came to light during the course of the investigations”, which further revealed that relevant laws and regulations may have been ignored or violated. Since this goes against the country’s policy of good corporate governance, he appealed to employees of the RCC “to be vigilant at all times” and to report incidents of corruption to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). Since its inception in 2000 the RCC has been one of the country’s largest civil engineering companies. Over the years it has managed to diversify its scope of business to include the construction of civil infrastructure from its primary core function of roads construction and maintenance. The company has also been involved in a number of national projects, namely the Heroes’ Acre, the rehabilitation of the Swakopmund Bridge, the construction of the water pipeline at Ndonga Linena and it also took part in constructing embankments on the northern Railway Extension Project. One of its core business functions, the RCC is also responsible for maintaining the country’s road network, which is a vital economic link both locally and with other countries in the region. Official figures indicate that the total road maintenance market value in Namibia stands at N$420 million per year. It is against this background that the new headquarters of the RCC, situated in the southern industrial area of the capital, is viewed as boosting is competitive edge, while at the same time fostering economic growth, employment creation and poverty reduction. Since the transport sector is the backbone of the national economy, calls were also made for all SOEs of the transport industry, namely the RCC, Roads Authority and Roads Fund Administration to work together in order to ensure that the country’s rail and road networks provide the vital linkages within and outside the country. Through its operations the RCC is also seen to be empowering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by sub-contracting them for various projects. Pohamba cited this as a positive development, through the redistribution of expertise and wealth to formerly disadvantaged communities. Speaking at the same occasion, Minister of Works, Transport and Communication Joel Kaapanda commended the RCC for constructing the new offices using its own resources. Previously the RCC was housed at the TransNamib head office in Windhoek.