Meatco sends Rukoro on compulsory leave

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Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-The Meatco board of directors has sent its chief executive officer, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro, on forced leave pending an investigation against him, board chairperson Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun confirmed yesterday.

Contacted by New Era, Namundjebo-Tilahun did not disclose much information on the matter on grounds the issue is internal.

“Yes the board decided to put Rukoro on an indefinite administrative leave pending an investigation which I cannot disclose to you now, as it might jeopardise the investigation,” she said, adding it was nothing personal.

Rukoro yesterday was unavailable for comment as his phone went unanswered but in a widely circulated WhatsApp message, Rukoro confirmed his suspension, saying: “My enemies on the Meatco board have resumed their witch-hunt of last year against me.”

“Yesterday they decided to put me on so-called administrative or special leave for an indefinite period in order to investigate non-existing charges against me,” he added.

Rukoro said the board’s action is patently unlawful and he will not leave it unchallenged.
“The reason for my suspension is that I identified and recommended Mr Katjomuise to be appointed as a livestock agent for Meatco, and somehow through his actions he caused a loss to Meatco of just below N$300 000,” he said.

“I did not interview the man for the job, I did not appoint him, he was never managed by me as CEO nor was he accountable to me,” he maintained.

He said the report of Ernest & Young’s forensic investigation, relied upon for his suspension, does not contain a single finding or recommendation that the CEO is to be held liable for Katjomuise’s losses or that any action be taken against him.

“This is purely a naked act of political victimisation in gross violation of both labour law and good corporate governance principles,” he said.

Public Enterprises Ministry spokesperson Jonathan Swartz confirmed Rukoro’s suspension but said the public enterprises minister Leon Jooste was still awaiting official correspondence from the board.

Late last year the Confidente newspaper reported that the board of directors of Meatco and Rukoro were involved in a bitter feud that had seen the board seeking permission from Jooste to suspend Rukoro.

The weekly newspaper said they were reliably informed the feud stemmed from what the board viewed as alleged gross insubordination, unruly behaviour and uttering false statements on the part of Rukoro.

“Confidente can also reveal that the Meatco board on Tuesday could not go ahead with Rukoro’s suspension after they failed to get permission from Jooste and ended up only informing him that his conduct will be investigated,” read the newspaper report published on August 25 last year.

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