Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa confirmed that she had received a docket from the ACC and has examined it. She however declined to reveal whether she would prosecute, saying those affected need to be informed first.
AmaBhungane has seen a copy of a letter from the anti-graft commission, dated 9 June, informing the chairperson of the NAC board, Ndeuhala Katonyala, that El-Kallawi, the airports company‚Äôs acting chief executive, is under investigation in connection with a CCTV tender awarded to Syntex Technology.
‚ÄúI refer to your letter dated 20 May 2014. I have since established that Tamer El-Kallawi is a suspect in the allegations against the NAC, which are currently under investigation by the [commission],‚Äù the letter states.
The letter hints that potential witnesses in the matter had been subjected to disciplinary action and warns: ‚ÄúThe [Anti-corruption] Act [states] that any disciplinary hearing, civil or criminal proceedings by any other person or authority against any informer or person who assisted the commission into the alleged suspect investigations is committing an offence against the law.‚Äù
The Namibian previously reported that certain NAC officials refused to implement the Syntex tender because of irregularities.
The officials subsequently fell victim to a restructuring process – one was demoted, another took a retrenchment package and yet another is on suspension.
The investigation came after the NAC awarded to Syntex the CCTV tender for N$15,2 million – double the amount quoted by a rival bidder, Schoemann Technologies, which also scored the highest points allocated by the evaluation committee.
Emails previously seen by The Namibian indicate that a staff member tasked with evaluating the tender committee‚Äôs recommendations ‚Äúmodified [them] to favour Syntex‚Äù.
Schoemann took the NAC to court and won an unopposed interdict in the Windhoek High Court to stop the implementation of the tender award earlier this year.
The Anti-Corruption Commission‚Äôs director, Paulus Noa, said the investigation had been concluded and -recommendations sent to the prosecutor-general for a final decision. He declined to provide further details.
NAC board chairperson Katonyala refused to comment: ‚ÄúWhat do you want? Kindly never call me again, please.‚Äù
Asked whether he knew that he was a suspect, El-Kallawi said: ‚ÄúI do not care about what you want to ask. I do not want to know and even if you e-mail me, I will not respond.‚Äù
Messages sent to his e-mail account and to the NAC‚Äôs spokesperson Dan Kamati went unanswered.
The tender will see the installation of surveillance cameras at Windhoek‚Äôs Hosea Kutako International Airport, as well as at the Walvis Bay, Eros and Ondangwa airports.
The deal caught the attention of the anti-corruption commission after e-mails emerged from NAC official Courage Silombela, addressed to the NAC board, in which he stated that he has altered the comments made to favour Syntex ‚Äúas per [the] tender committee resolution‚Äù.
There have been claims that Syntex‚Äôs owner Linus Amulungu is close to board chairperson Katonyala.
Katonyala denied having a close relationship with Amulungu and said they were merely acquaintances.
Amulungu told amaBhungane this week: ‚ÄúWe were not the only highest bidders; there were others too. At this point, we are just waiting and we rest our case. If they call us back to implement the tender we will. But business has to go on; there are other things to take care of.‚Äù
The CCTV tender sparked an up-roar in the airports company in March this year, when senior staff members refused to implement it because of the way it was awarded.
They included the general manager of operations, Gerson Katjangua, who, according to sources, took a severance package, and senior manager for quality assurance Titus Shuungula, who was to be transferred to the Keetmanshoop airport.
Another senior official, Mia Davids, was demoted from the post of head of corporate communications to corporate communications officer, while the NAC manager for procurement, Mwangi wa Kamau, is still on suspension.
At the time, NAC spokesperson Kamati described the developments as ‚Äúa realignment in accordance with the company‚Äôs strategic plan‚Äù.
AmaBhungane understands that Davids is fighting her demotion in the labour court, while Katjangua has since left the NAC.
Katjangua, Shuungula and Davids refused to comment.
El-Kallawi called for an urgent workshop in July, which all managerial staff were required to attend, where the subject was the restructuring of posts for certain individuals.
The NAC leadership has also come under fire over the downgrading of the Hosea Kutako International Airport by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) following an audit in July.
It was downgraded from category nine to five after the airport‚Äôs rescue and firefighting services were found not adequate for the take-off and landing of the Airbus 330.
The ICAO found that there were not enough trained firefighters and that the fire truck was not functional. Although the airports company had planned to upgrade Namibia‚Äôs airports in accordance with a five-year strategic plan, it failed to do so in time for the audit.
* Ndanki Kahiurika is currently an intern at the Mail Guardian investigative unit amaBhugane in South Africa.