Kandjemuni Kamuiiri

Former Chairperson of Agribank, Michael Iyambo’s continued stay as Chairperson of the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) remains uncertain amid indications of on-consultations being carried out by the appointing authorities over his role.

Iyambo who was appointed to the NAB role in 2017, was forced out from his role as Chairperson of Agribank, amid accusations that he used his position to access personal funding from the Government-owned bank.

Public Enterprises Minister, Leon Jooste, whose ministry is entrusted with ensuring governance compliance by State-owned entities, confirmed that his ministry was looking into the matter.“We will look into that after we’ve considered the merit and legal aspects,” he told the Windhoek Observer.

He said he had been earlier consulted by Finance Minister, Iipumbu Shiimi, regarding Iyambo’s exit from Agribank and had agreed with the minister’s stance. “Honourable Shiimi consulted me on the matter and I duly advised that he be requested to resign or, in the absence thereof, that he be removed as board member,” Jooste said.

When asked if the ministry will pursue criminal charges against Iyambo regarding his actions, Jooste said “that is not for our ministry to determine. Agribank reports to the Ministry of Finance and they are well positioned to decide on further action.”

Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein, to which the NAB reports, said he couldn’t talk due to back-to-back meetings.

According media reports Iyambo received N$20 million, which he is struggling to pay back. Agribank allegedly also allowed him to delay his installments, and unlike other loan applicants, he got loans that are not secured.

Windhoek Observer tried to contact Iyambo but he couldn’t be reached.Iyambo, a fast rising star in horticultural farming, having previously been voted the horticultural producer of the year, had been a member of the Agribank board for over five years.

The developments at Agribank come amid concern over the continued recycling of directors among Government-owned entities, with many being accused of applying for appointment as a means to secure board seating fees and personal benefits that come with the role.