By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK The suspended Roads Construction Company (RCC)’s Chief Executive Officer has refuted media reports suggesting his suspension could be linked to a luxury vehicle he purchased for his wife. Kelly Nghixulifwa further dispelled a report that he was suspended because he used company resources to offset a huge amount overdue on the mortgage bond payments of Brian Nalisa, one of the managers. In an interview with New Era yesterday, Nghixulifwa acknowledged having purchased a Mercedes Benz CÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 200 for his wife but is adamant that he financed the purchase through a loan he secured from a local bank. “The car was bought on hire purchase. It was never RCC money that was used to buy the car,” he explained, although he did not mention the bank’s name. On allegations of Nghixulifwa having settled an overdue bond payment for Nalisa, the General Manager for Human Resources disclosed that being under the impression that the current provisions for loans applied to senior staff members, he indeed gave the green light for the approval of a loan amounting to N$95ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 000 Only later did he realize that only junior staff members qualified for such benefits. “I did not know senior employees did not qualify, and I authorized – or rather paid out – a loan of N$95ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 000,” he explained. “The suspended CEO added that the loan was paid back immediately after it was realized he had blundered. “These were not the reasons for my suspension,” he maintains, implying there may be other ulterior motives behind his suspension. Although he confirmed that he had received a letter regarding his suspension last week Thursday, Nghixulifwa declined to disclose the reasons stated in the letter. On Wednesday of last week the Board of Directors verbally suspended Nghi-xulifwa, and the chairman of the Board of Directors at the RCC, Otto Shikongo, on Thursday confirmed the suspension but declined to divulge in detail the reasons apart from saying it was “to give enough room for the investigation of alleged irregularities of a governance nature”. In a statement Shikongo said, “The board confirms that the CEO has been suspended with immediate effect on Wednesday August 23, 2006. “The board believes it is in the interests of the CEO, Mr Nghixulifwa, and the RCC for the investigation to be conducted in the absence of the CEO.” Noks Katjiuongua, the General Manager of Business Development and Technical Services, has been appointed as the acting CEO. Although Shikongo says the board found it necessary not to divulge any details of the investigation, it was earlier reported in a local daily that investigations were linked to the ‘whip’ he purchased for his wife and the alleged settlement of an overdue bond payment for one of the senior managers at the company. Spokesperson for RCC, Gernot de Klerk, expressed ignorance about the reasons they the board had to take such action. He referred to reasons given in the media as mere speculation.
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