Minister Denies Personal Interest in Garment Company

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK The Minister of Trade and Industry, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, has refuted allegations that he has personal interest in Namibia Garments Marketing Company (NGMC). Two months ago, the Director of the National Society for Human Rights, Phil ya Nangoloh, issued a press release questioning whether the minister had authorized the NGMC to operate from the premises of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Commenting on the issue, the chairman of NGMC, Theophillus Rohm, says the office currently being used by the company follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the government and NGMC whereby the office space at the Ministry was offered to NGMC until such time as the latter could operate on its own. The chairman explained that NGMC is actually not a company, as the name suggests, but an association which is there to assist garment companies in marketing their products. Ngatjizeko also confirmed that the Memorandum of Understanding signed on February16, 2006 is available at the Ministry and is open to public scrutiny. The minister said in order to promote industrialization, the Ministry of Trade and Industry entered into strategic relationships with private sector organisations to provide assistance in order to allow them to realize their business pursuit. “We view our assistance to the Namibia Garments Marketing Company as one of those activities we regularly undertake as part of our obligation, the Minister added. The provision of office space to NGMC cannot be treated as an isolated case considering that, prior to the establishment of the Ramatex textile plant, the management of Ramatex was given office space at the ministry to facilitate their preparatory work. “The benefits of this arrangement in relation to our economy and people are self-evident”, Ngatjizeko stated. He described the allegations by Ya Nangoloh as being motivated by a ‘wild imagination’. “I do not have personal, financial or any other interest in the company referred to. In relation to my subordinates, I have not been informed of any interest any one of them may have in this company. However, I will be quite happy to be provided with evidence that could link my officials to the Namibia Garments Marketing Company”, he said.