Jooste to defy Cabinet directive

Andrew Kathindi

Public Enterprises (Pes) Minister, Leon Jooste, could defy a Cabinet directive less than a month after it came into force if he moves ahead to extend the current Fishcor temporary board’s term without any changes to its composition.

The Cabinet directive states that Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of State-Qwned Enterprises (SOEs) may not serve on the boards of other SOEs.

This comes as Jooste confirmed to Windhoek Observer that he plans to extend the terms of the current Fishcor temporary board made up of two heads of SOEs, Heinrich Mihe Gaomab II, who was on 1 May appointed as the CEO of Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA), and Social Security Commission Executive Officer, Milka Mungunda.

The board also includes lawyer, Ruth Herunga, who is also acting in a dual role, also as Fishcor CEO. “They will continue until a new Board is appointed. The advertisement will be published soon,” Jooste told Windhoek Observer.

On what basis the board directors will serve until a new board is appointed, since their terms lapsed, Jooste stated, “Extending the temporary term.” This appears to be in direct contravention to his previous stance about the Cabinet directive, which was put in place to improve the running of public enterprises and shore up corporate governance in their operations.

According to the new directive, Gaomab II and Mugunda are not eligible for reappointment as Jooste had previously stated that the new directive will be applied henceforth. The current Fishcor board, which is chaired by Gaomab II, was appointed on a temporary basis for six months on 6 June 2020 until January 2021, before being provisionally extended for a further three months.

Jooste acknowledged that due to the Cabinet directive, the new substantive board for Fishcor would have to be reconstituted since Gaomab II and Mugunda cannot be reappointed, but could not divulge when a new board is likely to be announced.

Meanwhile, Jooste said that he was not concerned with the delay in appointing a substantive CEO at the state-owned fishing company.

Fishcor has been without a substantive CEO since former boss, Mike Nghipunya, was arrested last February lfor his alleged involvement in Fishrot scandal. Fishcor fired Nghipunya last November.

“Not really, the board has maintained seamless communication with my office and I’m fully aware of the various issues that they’ve been dealing with.” Jooste said that a CEO will be announced once the recruitment process is complete.

Finding a replacement for Nghipunya was one of the key objectives of the board when it was appointed.

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