Boxing board sitting fees are shocking – Ilukena

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Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, Alfred Ilukena, has expressed shock and consternation over the reported sitting fees each board member of the Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) pockets from a single board meeting.

New Era yesterday reported that each of the five NPBWCB board members pocketed a hefty N$20,000 in October and another N$20,000 in November, while the amount was reduced to N$15,000 in December, thus totalling N$55,000 that each member pocketed from sitting allowances over just three months.

In total, all five board members milked about N$275,000 from the already financially struggling NPBWCB – in just over three months. Furthermore, there are also allegations that the board appointed a new private secretary to the board – believed to be a close associate of an influential board member – on a monthly remuneration of N$10,000. The role and initial purpose of the newly appointed private secretary is not clear.

In his attempt to clear the air, board member and NPBWCB spokesperson Ronnie Kurtz in Tuesday’s interview with New Era failed to deny nor confirm the alleged figure each member pocketed and further strangely added that the board does not have a set fee as sitting allowance.

“The boxing control board is not a parastatal. It operates as an independent entity with no governance principles. The Boxing Act does not state precisely how much. It only says ‘a reasonable fee’. So it should be taken into consideration that I’m a practising lawyer and another board member, Kenny Hepundjua, is a medical doctor. Hence we must be compensated accordingly,” Kurtz said without elaborating further.

Approached for comment and to state the ministry’s position on the matter, Ilukena yesterday expressed shock at the figures each boxing board member pockets, saying the amounts were unrealistic and unreasonable.

“I don’t have the full details at this point and I also haven’t read the story in totality as I was very busy the whole of today (yesterday) but when listening to the figures the boxing board members each pocket, I have to say it is totally unrealistic and unreasonable. I don’t think there is a board that gives that kind of sitting fees to their members … N$20,000 per sitting? Come on man!” said a clearly consternated Ilukena.

He added: “As a ministry, and government by extension, we gave a clear directive to all government agencies and various state-owned enterprises that they should cut unnecessary expenses and make sure they avoid unwanted costs because government is currently not in the most favourable financial position.

So with such a clear directive in place and given our financial situation as a country, I’m totally shocked to hear such figures given to board members.

But like I said, I don’t have all the details at the moment and maybe the board will come forth and explain how they arrived at such figures.”

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