Windhoek-Namcor board chairperson, Patrick Kauta, yesterday said the forensic investigation against managing director, Immanuel Mulunga, and IT executive, Bonifatius Konjore, would not be wrapped up by 20 January as initially planned.
Kauta told New Era that only the first phase, which is forensic imaging and collection, should be done by 20 January.
Against these projections, it is not clear whether the ‘special leave’ granted to Mulunga and Konjore would be extended. The pair was scheduled to return to work on 20 January.
The two were placed on special leave in December to pave way for a forensic investigation into the N$2.2 million contract tender.
When asked whether both Mulunga and Konjore are expected at work on the 20th, or they would have their special leave extended, Kauta was evasive and could only say: “Leave is voluntarily entered into and there is no board meeting scheduled for January.”
The company has since appointed audit firm, Deloitte, to conduct a forensic investigation to verify the allegations levelled against Mulunga.
The Minister of Public Enterprises, Leon Jooste, is on record saying the allegations levelled against Mulunga, and his executive, could have been investigated without putting the corporation’s chief executive officer on special leave, as this action has caused irreparable damage to the Namcor brand. Jooste had said he finds it troubling that the damage to the integrity of the Namcor brand did not enjoy consideration in taking this decision.
“Namcor is an international brand and every ounce of negative publicity tarnishes the brand. Having said that, I remain firm that no form of corruption should ever be condoned and should always be investigated, but one would want to do this without unnecessary noise,” Jooste said last month, in response to the suspension of Mulunga.
Recent media reports suggested that Mines and Energy Minister Obeth Kandjoze had been pushing for Mulunga’s suspension, following allegations of conflict of interest and potential nepotism in awarding tenders at the company.
Speaking to New Era late last year, Mulunga maintained he has done nothing wrong despite being placed on special leave. He told New Era on Monday that he welcomed the investigation by auditing firm Deloitte and hoped that the investigation would clear his name.
Kauta has refused to label the move as a suspension; saying if a person took leave then that is voluntary.