Namcor board suspends Mulunga with benefits

Niël Terblanché

Immanuel Mulunga, the Managing Director of the National Petroleum Corporation, has been suspended by the state-owned company’s board of directors.

In a statement released yesterday, the board said that the suspension is effective 4 April 2023.

“We wish to inform our stakeholders that the board has resolved to place our Managing Director, Immanuel Mulunga, on suspension with immediate effect pending an investigation,” the board said.

Following Mulunga’s suspension, the board has elected and appointed Lionel Matthews as Acting Managing Director for an initial period of six months. He is the current Financial Manager in the Ministry of Finance. Matthews’s appointment will be effective from Wednesday 12 April 2023. In the meantime, Namcor’s Executive of Business Strategy, Shiwana Ndeunyema was appointed by the board to act as the Managing Director in the interim, until Matthews takes office.

“The appointment of an external Acting Managing Director will allow for objective leadership and an independent investigation,” the board said in its statement.

“We believe that a strong relationship between Board and Management is of paramount importance, and we have committed to putting interventions in place to address these shortcomings in order to regain the trust relationship and ensure that we operate in a mutually stimulating environment that ensures the execution of our strategy,” the statement reads.

Mulunga’s suspension follows several calls from members of the public and prominent figures in society, with the inclusion of Popular Democratic Movement President, who has since submitted a motion in parliament in support of the suspension. In addition, the suspension comes days after the arrest of the board Chairperson Jennifer Comalie, who stands accused of possession of illicit drugs.

Comalie has since appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court and was granted bail of N$7 000.

At the time of Comalie’s arrest, speculation was rife that the agenda of a board meeting, from which she was called to open her official vehicle for police officers to search, had the suspension of Mulunga from his position as Managing Director.

It was reported that her arrest was timed to interfere and deter the board from their plans to suspend Mulunga.

It was also reported that if Mulunga was to resist the Namcor board’s suspension order, he would have been fired and would have been offered a separation package worth N$6 million. Last Friday, he was summoned by the Anti-Corruption Commission to attest to N$270 million that was taken from the state-owned company’s coffers to invest in offshore oil blocks in Angola.

Allegations are that Namcor, as a partner in Sungara Energies, and under the direction of Mulunga has already paid N$170 million as part of a deposit that would give it a working share in three oil blocks off the shore of Namibia’s northern neighbour.

Mulunga has allegedly requested that a further N$100 million be paid towards the deposit because the other partners in the Sungara Energies deal did not pay their share of the deposit.

Meanwhile, Comalie’s arrest not only inferred that state organs were being abused by influential individuals to obtain their goals and wealth but also that the members of various directorial boards and senior management of companies have reverted to gangsterism.

In the meantime, the Namcor board assured all of the corporation’s stakeholders that it is committed to ensuring that issues are addressed in the interest of the company and the Namibian nation at large.

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