President Hage Geingob yesterday replaced his chief of protocol Neville Gertze with retired Agribank CEO and former diplomat, Leonard Iipumbu, whose contract at the agriculture finance parastatal came to an end last week.
In a carefully-worded short statement yesterday, the ministry of international relations broke the news on various platforms, including Facebook.
“The President …. has appointed Iipumbu as Chief of Protocol and Consular Department effective from August 1, 2016.”
“Iipumbu has served Namibia on diplomatic missions in France and Washington, D.C., as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary.”
He replaces Gertze who has served as chief of protocol since March 2015 and has been assigned to other unspecified diplomatic duties.
Questions sent to the minister of international relations Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah about Gertze’s new deployment were not responded to at the time of going to press yesterday.
The presidency referred all queries to the international relations ministry.
Iipumbu was appointed as Agribank CEO in 2005 and retired last year but the parastatal’s board extended his contract for a year.
It is reported that during his 10 years at the helm of Agribank he transformed it into a more versatile and responsive financial institution in order to meet its mandate of promoting agriculture or related activities.
Also, the board was quoted saying at the time that under Iipumbu’s leadership Agribank’s growth and performance of the loan book averaged 8.5 percent over a period of ten years from a net worthiness of N$672 million in 2004 to N$1.8 billion in 2014.
He is replaced at Agribank by former senior manager at Old Mutual Namibia, Sakaria Nghikembua.