By Irene !Hoaes
Air Namibia’s Executive Management on Monday signed a ‘Declaration of Commitment Statement’ at the launch of its fraud prevention policy and response plan.
With this initiative, Air Namibia wants to send an uncompromising signal to staff and those trading with them that incidents of fraud and corruption against assets of the company would not be tolerated.
The policy will serve as a guide to management and staff on how to respond in the event of fraud and corruption at the workplace.
Chairman of Air Namibia’s Audit Committee, Gomes Menette, said the company faces astronomical challenges against the backdrop of the ever increasing prices of crude oil and an unstable foreign exchange environment that has a negative impact on Air Namibia to meet its foreign currency denominated expenses.
“Thus, Air Namibia can therefore not afford to be caught off-guard by the negative impact of cases of fraud and corruption, that have the potential to erode the positive gains that the company has made over the past few years,” Menette stated. The Audit Committee Chairman disagrees with the belief that the war against fraud and corruption is the business of law enforcement institutions.
“We as champions of industry need to develop anti-fraud strategies that will support and augment the tireless efforts of the law enforcement institutions to all together eradicate fraud and corruption from our institutions and backbone of the country’s economy,” Menette remarked.
Although the company experiences fraudulent activities ‘here-and-there’, it has not yet experienced a major case so far but notes that it is equally exposed to the threats and opportunities brought about by the environment in which it operates.
Some of the principles of the Fraud Prevention Policy and Response Plan are to create a culture ethic that is intolerant of fraud, to put mechanisms in place to deter fraud and corruption and to enable management to investigate detected fraud, amongst others.
“It is therefore necessary that all employees, management, trading partners and customers of Air Namibia comply with the spirit and content of the plan,” Menette said.
He said that although Air Namibia has limited legal rights to enforce these principles on external stakeholders, it can exercise moral persuasion to gain compliance with the principles contained in the policy, or choose where applicable not to enter into relationships with stakeholders who do not comply with its enshrined principles.
Air Namibia admits that it is not the first company to formulate anti-fraud and corruption strategies, but notes that one fundamental mistake made by many companies is the failure to invite staff to provide input into the formulation of the policy framework.
This vital omission leads to staff not owning up to such management initiatives and hence rendering the policy ineffective.