Former Air Namibia boss breaks silence

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Windhoek

Former managing director of Air Namibia, Theo Namases, has broken her silence on her year-long suspension, two days after reaching a settlement agreement for an amicable divorce with the national airline.

Fuelled by what she considers a deliberate leak of information to the media on the part of Air Namibia, in breach of the settlement agreement, Namases accuses the national airline board of having used her as a scapegoat, while alluding that some board members assumed their seats on the board full of expectations for personal financial gain and with no understanding of good corporate governance.

She also expressed her disgust at the national airline board members’ wasteful spending, allocating money for witch-hunt exercises at a time when the airline was cash-strapped.

She singled out the commissioning of a forensic audit by Deloitte Namibia, from which one of her charges emanated, saying Air Namibia “commissioned the report at a cost of N$720 000, but after almost 18 months the airline had to fork out N$6.2 million to Deloitte”.

“I personally believe that whatever settlement reached with me should be recouped from the board members concerned because not through their ineptness – but through vengeance, personal vendettas and greed have they caused not only reputational damage to Air Namibia and myself but serious financial losses for Air Namibia,” she says.

Air Namibia’s board declined to discuss the matter when approached for comment yesterday, only saying: “The board does not wish to comment on this matter based on the confidentiality agreement in place. The matter has been finalised and we will thus not entertain further debates.”

Namases says she chose to speak out to “defend whatever little dignity and respect I still have after more than a year of negative publicity about my person”.

“I reiterate what I said in 2014 when I was suspended – that I am innocent and my suspension had no basis in law. I challenged Air Namibia board of directors to call a disciplinary hearing and to prove what they allege. For well over a year they avoided this,” Namases said in a six-page letter drafted with the assistance of her lawyers.

Namases had been on full-paid suspension since June 16 last year, and faced 17 charges of misconduct, some of which relate to how the airline failed to comply with directives and provisions of the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) and one from the forensic audit. She says the national airline has never furnished her, and her legal team, with the copy of the forensic audit or with the specific particulars of the charges levelled against her.

As for her reason to part ways with the national airline, Namases says the matter has “dragged on longer than expected, and I am just too tired and want to move on with my life”.

She says she no longer has a healthy working relationship with the DCA, nor can she work with the current Air Namibia board.

She was also at pains to point out that contrary to media reports, she never received money from Paragon Investments directors “for the funeral of my dear mother or for any other purpose” in lieu of contracts at Air Namibia.

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