The government of Namibia has decided to halt the process of recruiting a new board of directors for national operator Telecom Namibia, a subsidiary of the Namibia Post and Telecommunications Holdings Limited (NPTH).
This follows complaints of irregularities, according to the country’s Public Enterprises Minister Leon Jooste.
While Jooste refused to disclose details of the irregularities, he confirmed the development and said the decision to suspend recruitment was reached after consulting with the executive director of NPTH.
“We agreed to suspend the process until they were clarified. We will do due diligence on the process and the documents, and then decide which path is best,” Jooste said.
Current members of the board include Fernando Somaeb, Irene Simeon-Kurtz, Damoline Muruko, Petro Oberholster and Willem Titus.
Although the board’s tenure officially ended in October 2019, the NPTH decided to extend its term for another three months.
According to local media reports, the latest development stemmed from disagreement within the higher echelons of government over who – if anyone – on the board should be retained.
The Namibian reported that Jooste and Information Minister Stanley Simataa could not agree.
Simataa reportedly wanted two members of the board members (Titus and Somaeb) to be retained, while Jooste argued that it was illegal and that the whole board should rather be retained.
However Simataa refuted the publication’s report and specifically that he is part of a panel organised by the NPTH to interview existing board members and the new applicants.
“The principle is that the existing board members should indicate their intention to apply, then, together with new applicants, they are all put together and get interviewed,” said Simataa.
With the suspension in place, the Somaeb-led board will continue to oversee the affairs of the company until May 2020