WINDHOEK – Suspended Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) CEO Augustinus Katiti has threatened to sue over a myriad of accusations that led to his current suspension.
The grounded executive says serious legal consequences are going to follow the ‘fake news’ conveyed by those who he said had contorted facts to suit their vendetta.
In a statement issued on his behalf by lawyer Richard Metcalfe on Friday, Katiti, who has been cautioned from issuing any press releases or communicating with the media as part of his suspension conditions, said the NIP board deliberately continues to leak false information and distorted facts about him to the media while denying him the right to use the same platforms.
Katiti labelled all media reports last week as fake news.
“It is simple stupidity to profess that the ‘CEO travel costs’ are N$3.5 million. The sordid smear campaign presented against me by liars will enjoy the necessary legal attention in due course,” he said.
While it is alleged that Katiti undertook a trip to Italy where NIP purchased office furniture worth millions of dollars, the suspended CEO maintains that he has never been to Italy in his entire life.
“It is therefore devoid of any truth to state that ‘Katiti and five of his executives’ have undertaken a trip to Italy.”
He said he also has never travelled to Austria, as alleged, either in his private or official capacity.
“I only travelled once in March 2017 to Johannesburg, South Africa, to attend a training workshop during the whole of the previous financial year,” he said.
According to him, he has also not undertaken any trips outside the borders of Namibia in the current financial year.
“I travelled to Atlanta, USA, in June 2014 on the invitation of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and to Sweden in April 2015 to look at the manufacturing facilities of one of the key vendors doing business with NIP,” he said.
On the alleged purchase of furniture in Italy, Katiti dismissed the allegation.
“Furniture to the value of N$5,574,370.15 (net amount after 6.9% discount) was bought from R Navarra Shopfitters & Joiners (Pty) Limited, a company based in Cape Town, South Africa,” he said.
He said NIP also buys disposable laboratory gloves from local suppliers who import same from mostly China, India and South Africa.
“It is therefore grossly exaggerated to state that the ‘cost of the Italian office furniture’ is N$11 million. This is contorted facts based on the assumptions of liars,” he said.
Also, Katiti denied ever receiving a salary increase of 11 percent since his appointment at NIP.
“No staff member at NIP ever received a salary increase of 11 percent. Mr Katiti will not even be receiving a salary increase during the current financial year, whereas other staff members have been awarded a salary increase of 10 percent. This ought to be known by competent board members,” he maintained.
He said the consultant costs provided as N$1.4 million in the media are a mere 0.22 percent of total revenue or about 0.46 percent of total operating expenses.
“The N$3.2 million budgeted for training purposes is not even two percent (1.60 percent) of total employee costs. It represents a mere 1.1 percent of total operating expenses of NIP for the financial year ended 31 March 2017,” he explained.
Also, he said, personnel costs at NIP were never above 66% of operating costs. He said total expenses to sales remained below 60% and employee costs to sales remained below 38%, whereas cost of sales was contained at 33%.
It is a fact, he said, that the ST Freight Services cc’s transport transaction was never financed with NIP funds.
“An extensive response was provided by Mr Katiti to the board of directors on this matter.”
He said legal action was also instituted against the company and its principals for the recovery of the vehicles.
“NIP, or its officials, are not and cannot be held responsible for the dishonest behaviour of any business person contracted in good faith,” he said.