Namibia: Erongo Red Director Dissents On CEO Appointment

Walvis Bay — A board member of Erongo Red has distanced herself from the recruitment process of a new CEO, and has warned of legal and financial implications for the electricity distributor should the process not be annulled.

Irene Simeon-Kurtz said the recruitment process of the institution’s new CEO is flawed.

She said Tino !Hanabeb was not on the initial shortlisting of the candidates nor was all board members present at his interview.

Simeon-Kurtz, in a letter addressed to the chairperson of the board Zoe Nambahu, said the recruitment process and how the former CEO’s case was handled could backfire.

She distanced herself from the recruitment of the new CEO.

Her letter comes after Erongo Red recently announced Hanabeb as their new CEO, while their former CEO Fessor Mbango at the same time approached the high court in an attempt to get his job back.

The position became vacant when the electricity distribution company’s board opted not to renew Mbango’s contract after his five-year term ended, leading to Hanabeb being appointed as his successor.

“I learned about his appointment through the media, despite cautioning and recommending the board not proceed with it, as the recruitment drive was unlawful and a flawed recruitment procedure was adopted that have disadvantaged other candidates who also applied for the position,” she said.

She now wants the recruitment process to be redone while the financial implication of the process and the potential liability paid by implicated board members in their capacity and not that of Erongo Red.

She added no affirmative action presence and representations were made during the long and shortlisting process.

“The full board was also not present during the interview, while a polygraph test and thorough background check attributed to resurfacing information circulating in the media on !Hanabeb was not done as well,” Simeon-Kurtz said in her letter addressed to the chairperson.

She also questioned whether any precautionary measures were put in place to protect the company against a lawsuit, which may emanate from the court ruling of Mbango?

Audio leaked

Simeon-Kurtz also indicated that the widespread audio files that have been leaked and recently surfaced on social media implicate at least three board members of plotting to remove Mbango point to gross negligence and irregular conduct on a lack of proper and responsible governance by the board.

“I, therefore, request that its contents be subjected to forensic analysis and investigation, and a corruption case be opened with Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate the possible practice of corruption and/or corrupt conduct of sidestepping of recruitment procedures and/or processes by both implicated employees and board members for gratification purposes as well as the leaking of the audio clips in circulation.

Nambahu could not be reached for comment yesterday; however, board member Michael Skini earlier upon inquiry referred New Era to the public relations department of Erongo Red.

However, another board member yesterday told New Era that the appointment was done correctly and that Mbango was also asked to re-apply for the position.

“He chose not to apply and relied on political influence to hold on to his position instead of applying,” the board member said.

Meanwhile, ACC spokesperson Josefina Nghituwamhata earlier told New Era that no formal complaint has been made yet.

“Kindly note the commission came to learn about the allegation through your inquiry; hence, no formal complaint has been lodged with the commission yet. We would evaluate the allegations now that you brought this to our attention,” Nghituwamhata said.

According to her, only then a decision will be made to investigate or possibly refer the matter to the relevant authority.


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