Fuel Firm Pushes for ACC Probe

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek Namibia Liquid Fuel (NLF) has challenged the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to start investigations into its operations as soon as possible in order to clear the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) company following recent negative publicity. Breaking its silence on the issue that recently dominated the local media, NLF Director Ranga Haikali said the NFL pledges its full cooperation with the investigations. “We request that the investigations be put in motion as swiftly as possible and be conducted strictly in accordance with the relevant legislation and be concluded as soon as possible.” Addressing a press conference yesterday in the capital, Haikali said recent media reports were merely “pure jealousy, character assassination and an attempt to destroy black entrepreneurs” who are trying to do business. The NLF came under serious public scrutiny after an investigation by the Central Governance Agency (CGA) revealed that high-ranking officials especially in the Office of the President, Ministry of Justice and politically connected individuals were shareholders of the BEE company. Among those cited in the media reports were Andries Leevi Hungamo and Dr Ndeutala Angolo-Amutenya, who both work in the Office of the President and Sacky Shangala, Special Adviser to the Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General. NFL secured a tender from a government subsidiary, Namcor. Haikali noted that it was implied in the disclosures the officials had abused their offices. “We would like to put it on record that none of the people that are alleged to have misused their positions in Government had any say or influence whatsoever in the granting of this tender and that could be cleared by the ACC investigation.” At the press conference that lasted for almost three hours, Haikali spoke about the creation of NLF, the NLF structure and purpose, the tender process, NLF operations, Namibianisation, CGA and ACC investigations. The former trade union leader turned businessman said that after obtaining the Wholesale licence from Namcor, NLF put in a joint tender with Sasol, which was successful. He said NLF roped in Sasol as the technical partner and were given a 49 percent shareholding. Explaining what appears to be the bone of contention – the shareholding – Haikali said he owns 14 percent, Hungamo 12 percent, Naeman Amalwa 10 percent, Angolo-Amutenya 8 percent, James Hatuikulipi 8 percent and Kapande Development Trust 40 percent. He said Hanganeni Investment Holding, National Youth Service, Eudafano Women’s Cooperative and Etango Investment were the beneficiaries of the Kapande Development Trust. He however did not explain what happened to the other trustees such as the Indira Ghandi Trust. Haikali also dismissed reports that his company borrowed or received any guarantees from the government or government-linked institutions. He noted that the project needed a capital injection of N$300 million and that NLF was supposed to give N$150 million and Sasol the remaining half. But since NLF could not raise the funds, they first opted for the 10 percent option which did not require any risk. “After May 2005, we managed to raise the capital required through financing from ABSA and Bank Windhoek.” Commenting on the legal battle they had with Namenco, Haikali said in November 2004, an application was lodged by Namenco with the High Court of Namibia mainly pertaining to the awarding of the shipping contract to Namenco. “We state that NLF at no stage was approached nor did it enter into any negotiations with Namenco for the purposes of this tender, other than that Namenco for reasons only known to them decided to approach Sasol directly, disregarding the Namibian majority control entity.” Haikali also said NLF was a registered taxpayer in Namibia. “In terms of building local capacity and skills transfer, training is being given to both Namcor and the Namibian partners in NLF, especially with reference to the recently appointed CEO and the staff members to be employed.” Looking at the future, he noted that it was his company’s aim to further expand its operations and not limit themselves to the Namcor tender. “This tender was granted for an initial three-year period running out by September 2007 and possibly to be extended for a further two years.”