President Hage Geingob says he has never dubiously accepted a cent from anyone – even when times were hard – and therefore has no reason to do so now that he is Head of State.
The president said he takes his integrity very serious and has made it a point throughout his career – which includes two spells as the country’s prime minister – to never accept bribes, or any suspicious favours.
If he had such intentions he would have accepted such favours long ago when he was younger and not now when he is president and aged 75.
He made the remarks yesterday at State House when a question was raised about the trip he allegedly took in 2013 to Oman with Namibian businesspeople who have an interest in phosphate mining.
It was rumoured that Geingob and aspirant phosphate mining magnate Knowledge Katti met with Mo-Hammed Al Barwani, once Oman’s richest man, with a view to discuss ing phosphate mining in Namibia.
Al Barwani is now Katti’s partner in a venture that is pushing for the commencement of marine phosphate mining in Namibia, while allegations swirl about that the Omani businessman offered gifts to smoothen the process of phosphate mining approval by the Namibian government.
“If I am going around the world and that is seen as me going to a specific businessperson, then that mentality is wrong. I’m not a commodity,” Geingob hit back.
“I challenge you publicly to say who I went to and asked for a cent. I’m not for sale. I’ve never asked anybody for a single cent in all my life. You make it sound like I can be bought. I’m not that cheap,” President Geingob lashed out.
Katti and his purported partners argue that there are massive economic benefits to marine phosphate mining, while environmentalists and lobbyists for marine life protection have cautioned that the approval of such activity would destroy the Namibian coastline and the marine life that sustains the fishing industry.
Asked what his opinion is on phosphate mining, Geingob yesterday the facts must be left to experts in both law and environmental science to determine.