By Shinovene Immanuel | 12 June 2013
TRANSNAMIB directors have wasted little time in spending extravagantly on the controversially appointed chief executive officer Sara Naanda, who was supposedly hired because of “financial prudence”.
The Namibian has it on good authority that the board of directors reneged on their own decision not to buy a luxury vehicle for the CEO’s office and have also decided to push up Naanda’s pay to about N$2,6m instead of the N$1,5m mark that was initially set.
The board also allegedly approved a budget of more than N$500 000 for renovations and decorations to the CEO’s office for Naanda, ignoring the company’s procurement policy in the process, sources said.
Naanda was appointed towards the end of last year in a sham interview process after she had approached Motor Vehicle Accident Fund CEO Jerry Muadinohamba to take charge of the transport parastatal and went on to compete against him without disclosing the information to Muadinohamba. Naanda was the deputy chairperson of the board then and it is not clear whether she has resigned that portfolio.
The board hired Naanda saying she was “astute” and suited the profile because “the immediate challenge of TransNamib Holdings is that of financial prudency [sic].”
The board decided to buy an Audi A4, which set the company back by at least N$460 000, for Naanda’s office in April. This is despite the fact that the company pays her a car allowance.
The latest decisions to splash luxuriously on the CEO highlight inconsistencies by the board, which last year fired Titus Haimbili as CEO accusing him of financial mismanagement.
Unhappy employees said the same board decided to sell two luxury vehicles [a Mercedes Benz and a minibus] attached to the former CEO’s office in the name of cutting costs. A cheaper German make [a VW Polo] was bought to run errands.
Sources close to TransNamib are particularly surprised by the spending as the company this year pleaded with the government for funds to pay salary increases for its employees.
But the company recently let go of its finance general manager, because TransNamib could apparently not afford to continue paying him. Former Head of Finance Noel Mouton left the company in December because the board allegedly deemed his remuneration package too high.
Naanda’s salary is allegedly also already under scrutiny, after The Namibian last week wrote that she earned an annual package of N$1,5 million, plus a 30 percent performance bonus. Sources disputed this saying that N$1,5 million was what was initially proposed as being in line with the State Owned Enterprises Governance Council regulations. Sources close to TransNamib said that the board decided to push her total cost to company up to N$2,6 million annually.
Works Minister Erkki Nghimtina could not be reached for comment this week about whether he approved the increase outside the guidelines. Nghimtina has ignored repeated calls and text messages sent to him since last week.
The TransNamib board and office of the CEO have claimed they needed more time to answer queries despite issuing a statement that hardly clarifies the questionable recruitment process.
Last week chairman Festus Lameck refused to comment and said the board will issue a press statement, despite failing and refusing to respond on detailed questions sent to TransNamib.
By late yesterday TransNamib responded to detailed questions by stating that most of the issues were addressed in an advertisement they placed in The Namibian on 11 June. They also said that salaries of individuals are a private matter and cannot be discussed with the media.