Andrew Kathindi

The Office of the Ombudsman has fingered Board Chairperson of the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) Patrick Swartz in the “irregular, unfair and prejudicial” recruitment of 14 employees. The majority of those employed irregularly are Oshiwambo speakers.

According to the Ombudsman, John Walter’s report, Leonard Tsheehama, Aune K Ndeutapo, Zambwe Manyando, Twenty-One-March Kangonga and Daphney Meutudhana did not meet the advertised requirements, while Kristof Shiwalo failed the interview pass rate of 65 percent and obtained only a rate of 62.5 percent.

According to Walters, Swartz contradicted the Office of the Ombudsman’s finding that Ms Ndeutepo does not have the required 10 years working experience and could therefore not be shortlisted for interviewing.

“According to Mr Swartz, Ms Ndeutepo fulfilled the shortlisted requirement for “she practiced as a Business Accountant for 11 years independently and in various finance roles,” Walter’s report stated.

He added, “However, having perused Ms Ndetapo’s CV we could not trace where exactly Mr Swartz ascertained the 11 years of independent experiences in finance on behalf of Ms Ndeutapo”

Swartz is fingered in other irregularities in the Ombudsman’s investigation, including inconsistent and incorrect information in a submission by Senior Registry Officer Mrs. Rahab T Shilongo dated 9/9/2019, approved by Mr. Patrick P Swartz on 10/9/2019.

“The submission states that CPBN received 80 applications for the Senior Procurement Officer Position but the long list indicates only 37 applicants. The minimum experience stipulated in the submission is 5 years, contradicting the requirement of seven (7) years set out in the long list.”

Swartz is also accused of having added additional criteria that was not advertised to qualify certain candidates who did not qualify for the posts.

The Office of the Ombudsman recommended that “the Board take the necessary disciplinary action against those who were responsible for the mistakes which led to the irregular appointments of persons and inform the Ombudsman of the outcome.”

However, Swartz, who is fingered as a culprit by the Ombudsman in a number of irregularities in the recruitment process, is the Chairperson of the CPBN Board. It is unclear if any disciplinary action will follow.

Calls to Swartz went unanswered and questions sent to CPBN earlier this week have also not been answered.

Quizzed on whether the Ministry of Finance, which oversees the CPBN, will take any action over the matter, Finance spokesperson Tonateni Shidhudhu said the Minister is yet to study the Ombudsman’s report.

“After learning about the Ombudsman report in the media, we requested for the copy from CPBN, which was provided to us on Friday. We are yet study the report. We have also requested CPBN to give us with their response to the Ombudsman of which they are yet to do so. We will only be able to respond to your questions after receiving the copy of their reply to the Ombudsman.”

He confirmed that the Ombudsman did not engage the Ministry during his investigation on the matter.

When contacted for comment on whether the current structure of the CPBN where Swartz heads the operations and the board violates corporate governance regulations, Public Enterprises minister Leon Jooste said the body was not a public enterprise and thus does not fall under the control of his ministry.