Agribusdev investigation report out next month

Maria Hamutenya

The Public Enterprise ministry is next month set to release the long awaited report into its investigations into the operations Agricultural Business Development Agency (Agribusdev) including its late Managing Director, Petrus Uugwanga.

The investigation which was commissioned last year, came after the government owned agency had been embroiled in various scandals, including alleged questionable acquisitions of materials such as fertilizers for its green schemes and the recruitment of the South African consultant who was believed to be close to Uugwanga.

Public Enterprise Minister Leon Jooste confirmed to the Windhoek Observer that his ministry had been presented with a preliminary report by auditing firm Deloitte, which was hired to conduct the investigation.

“We had a meeting with the team from Deloitte on 16 December 2020 where a presentation of the progress and initial findings were shared. We will implement the appropriate recommendations as soon as we receive the final report that is expected before the end of February 202,” Jooste said.

The late Uugwanga was found dead after he allegedly shot himself in the chest with a shotgun. Uugwanga’s body was found lying next to his Volkswagen Amarok pick-up along Matshishi Road in Otjomuise.

Before his death, Uuugwanga was on suspension pending the completion of the investigation.

There were increased concern over allegations of mismanagement and dubious tender awards at the government entity tasked to improve the country’s food security.

Namibia Farm Workers Union (NAFWU) was also reported to be at loggerheads with the agency, demanding the immediate removal of its management after it was revealed that the agency staff has gone for months without salaries, with Agribusdev putting the blame for their inability to pay on COVID-19.

Under the leadership of Uugwanga, the company had faced a barrage of allegations over the years including, but not limited to cases of alleged mismanagement and favoritism in the organization’s tender awarding process.

It is alleged that the company awarded a multimillion-dollar fertilizer supply tender to South African company, Kynoch, whose Namibian agent was an employee of the government agency, despite the company not having bid for the tender.

The government agency’s precarious financial position has seen it struggling to pay suppliers and salaries at some of its green schemes.

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