By Kuvee Kangueehi
The Secretary of the Tender Board of the Ministry of Finance, Meriam Onesmus, has written a letter through her lawyers to the Permanent Secretary of Finance, Carl Schlettwein, questio-ning her transfer to the division of asset management.
Onesmus who has been the Secretary to the Tender Board for more than eight years has been given notice by the ministry that she will be moved to the division of asset management effective July 1, 2008.
Welma Enssle who is currently a deputy director in the division of general services will replace Onesmus.
Speaking to New Era yesterday the acting permanent secretary, Ericah Shafudah, said the transfer was not done in bad faith and the process was open and fair.
Shafudah said the shift by the permanent secretary was not illegal because the Public Service Act makes provision for the permanent secretary to make transfers in consultation with the affected employees.
She said the transfers will not affect the salaries or benefits of the affected employees and the lateral shifts are being done in the interest of the employees, as they will be multi-skilled.
Shafudah said when the permanent secretary is making the transfers, the line minister and deputy minister do not have to be consulted and the permanent secretary is only required to inform the minister as courtesy.
She added that the transfer was supposed to be effective from June 1, 2008 but it was postponed to July 1, 2008 because some directors indicated that they needed to complete some assignments in their divisions.
The acting permanent secretary refused to discuss the content of the letter from Onesmus’ lawyers and said the ministry is in the process of responding to the letter.
She, however, noted that the transfers were done after consultation with the employees and before it is implemented they are all requested to put their objections forward.
Sources in the ministry say the transfers were triggered by a tender worth more than N$3 million that was advertised last month. The tender seeks a company to supervise the current administrator of the government medical aid.
The sources claim that a former employee of the Ministry of Finance who used to deal with the government medical aid resigned and is now planning to bid for the tender and the internal transfers could play into her favour.
Shafudah dismissed these speculations and said the Secretary of the Tender Board has little influence in the awarding of the tenders because a mini-ministerial committee studies all the bids before they go to the Tender Board.
Onesmus, however, denied she was ever consulted about the transfer saying she only received a memo requesting her to indicate whether she was interested in a transfer to which she replied that she was not interested.
The Tender Board Secretary said on May 30, 2008 a few minutes before 17h00, the permanent secretary called her to his office and informed her about the transfer.
Onesmus said the permanent secretary first told her that he was very happy with her work at the Tender Board and lavished praise on her before he finally told her that he had bad news for her and that she was being transferred.
Onesmus said the permanent secretary first advised her not to discuss the matter with anybody despite the fact that the personnel office had already written the letter to inform her about the transfer.
She said the transfer was not done in good faith and was not in the interest of promoting her career.