Vice President Dr Nickey Iyambo has been absolved of any wrongdoing in the Xaris Energy deal.
A stream of recent media reports have implied that the Vice President had used his previous office as Minister of Veterans Affairs to obtain shares in Xaris Energy involved in the multi-billion-dollar 250-megawatt power plant in which NamPower has a stake.
In a detailed explanation, Moses Pakote, the Deputy Executive Director Office of the Vice President, yesterday said, “From the beginning it should be made clear that the Vice President’s involvement as the then Minister of Veterans Affairs in the said trust was a direct result of a Cabinet decision. Recent newspaper reports, citing the name of the Vice President, created the impression that he had used his former office as a minister to obtain shares in the Xaris Energy Company Trust, for his personal benefit. Such a portrayal is, however, devoid of any iota of truth, as Dr Iyambo was there only on behalf of the veterans in his capacity as the then Minister for Veterans Affairs.”
Iyambo’s presence in the trust created by the Xaris Energy Company in 2014 emanated from the Cabinet decision (3rd/23.03.14/004) on the improvement of the welfare of handicapped, retired and unemployed People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) combatants, and the Robben Island and Kai //Ganaxab political prisoners of the national liberation struggle, he said.
“Among others, the Cabinet resolution further provided for monthly allowances from the Ministry of Veterans Affairs; sought housing from the National Housing Enterprise; and the allocation of 500 metric tons of fishing quotas of which all subsequent proceeds were to be paid into the Veterans Fund to benefit the above indicated targeted groups,” Pakote further explained.
This Cabinet resolution also directed that instead of confining access to funding only to the fisheries sector, the sources of funding for this fund should be expanded to other economic sectors such as mining, infrastructure development and so forth.
“Ensuing from this mandate to explore additional sources of funding for the Veterans Fund, the ministry took up shareholding on behalf of the national liberation struggle veterans in the trust created by the Xaris Company. Hence, as the political head of the ministry, Dr Iyambo had to represent the veterans resorting under the ministry on the trust,” Pakote clarified.
“Proceeds from the trust were to be used to fund the welfare activities of the Veterans Fund. However, hardly a year after the establishment of this trust, Dr Iyambo was appointed and sworn in on March 21, 2015, as the Vice President. Due to this change in his political status, he consulted the Attorney-General regarding his representation on the Xaris Energy Trust,” he further stated.
He urged the VP’s detractors to verify the consultations that had taken place between the VP and the Attorney-General.
Following the Attorney-General’s legal counsel, the Vice President immediately resigned from the said trust. Permanent Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Ambassador Hopelong Ipinge now represents the interests of the veterans in this venture.
According to Pakote, Iyambo’s resignation from the trust was circulated to all the relevant stakeholders.
“In view of the above stated facts, the media and the public is hereby informed that the Vice President who from the onset had no personal interest in the Xaris Energy Trust except in his capacity as the then minister responsible for the welfare of veterans, and in execution of the referred to Cabinet decision, is no longer part of the Xaris Energy Trust,” further stated Pakote.
Hence, any reference or linkage regarding the role of the Vice President in this regard should be made and understood in the above outlined context, without casting any undue aspersions on his character and integrity.
“The Vice President is fully committed to and wholly supports the far-sighted leadership of President Hage Geingob, who in an unprecedented and ground breaking assets declaration together with the First Lady, Madam Monica Geingos, clearly signalled the resolute commitment of the highest echelons of Government to the establishment and furtherance of an accountable and transparent governance framework for Namibia,” Pakote said.