A storm erupts around Lionel Matthews

Niël Terblanché

The appointment of Lionel Matthews as the interim Managing Director of the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia took a dramatic turn after the board of directors last week announced that Shiwana Ndeunyema will act in that capacity until negotiations with the candidate are completed.

In the meantime, Matthews has been linked to alleged nefarious dealings with regard to a Namcor tender to construct oil storage facilities in Walvis Bay worth N$1 billion, amongst others.

However, Fullbright Investments, an infrastructure development firm came out strongly against the allegations.

Read more: A storm erupts around Lionel Matthews

Fullbright appointed Monasa Advisory and Associates as its transaction advisor when they submitted their proposal for the oil storage project to Namcor.

In a statement released yesterday, the company made it clear that Matthews acted as a consultant for Monasa Advisory and Associates at the time.

“Fullbright Investments (Pty) Ltd and its consortium partner have not participated, nor were we awarded a tender from Namcor for the performance of any works. Any tender, particularly of the magnitude stated in the allegations, would require the application of the Namibian Procurement processes under the purview of the Procurement Board of Namibia,” the statement reads.

According to the statement, the company participated in an Expression of Interest process, which would see the consortium raise financing independently, construct, commission, operate and maintain the facilities for a predetermined investment period.

“We note that our submission to Namcor to be considered as the preferred investor for this infrastructure development project was submitted on 21 January 2022. Our appointed Transaction Advisor, Monasa Advisory and Associates (Proprietary) Limited, subsequent to the award of preferred prospective status, added Mr Matthews to their team in a consultative capacity,” Fullbright said in its statement.

During the process, Namcor affirmed Fullbright as a preferred prospective investor.

“Our relationship remains in its infancy. No detailed scope of works, nor remuneration or capital value of the project has been determined yet,” the statement said.

The company stated that it has operated with the highest level of integrity in all its dealings.

“As a dedicated infrastructure development specialist, with expertise in construction project costing, capital and financing raising and experience working with central and local government, we are in a unique position to deliver on the various infrastructure needs of Namibia and the region,” it said.

Fullbright said that it is keenly aware of its duty to maintain the highest standard of transparency and accountability in all transactions, and the company will continue to deliver on the same in line with all applicable regulatory demands.

Namcor’s statement last week confirmed that Matthews and the board are still in discussions regarding his appointment as the interim Managing Director because the corporation did not extend a formal offer to him yet.

“Namcor understands the importance of keeping its stakeholders and the public informed about ongoing developments, particularly with regard to the recruitment process for this crucial role. The Board and Executive Management remain committed to the long-term growth and success of the company, and we appreciate the ongoing support of our stakeholders,” the statement reads.

The statement follows the recent suspension of Immanuel Mulunga from his position as Managing Director.

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