Nored mum over its financials

Ester Mbathera and Stefanus Nashama

For years, the Northern Regional Electricity Distributor (Nored) has been leaving its shareholders in the dark by remaining mum about its financial status.

Nored was established in 2001 as an electricity distribution company for the Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Kavango East, Kavango West, and Zambezi regions.

The shareholders are Nampower, Local Authorities Electricity Company (Pty) Ltd. (LAEC), and Regional Councils Electricity Company (Pty) Ltd. (RCEC).

Kavango East region chairperson Damian Maghambayi said he has never seen the company’s financial reports since taking office in 2020.

“We have many issues with Nored. They have not even presented us with the financial reports for many years,” he said.

The Windhoek Observer could also not find any financial reports on the Nored website.

Christella Mwenyo, Oshikoto chief regional officer, also confirmed that they have never received financial reports from Nored.

“I have been in this position for two and a half years, and I have not received any annual reports,” she said.

The absence of annual reports by Nored has also affected NamPower’s books.

This is one of the reasons NamPower received a qualified opinion for its 2023 annual financial audits.

“We were unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence about the carrying amount of NamPower’s investment in Nored as of 30 June 2023 and NamPower’s share of this associate’s profit and other comprehensive income for the year then ended in the consolidated financial statements of the group, as well as the related deferred tax impacts, because audited financial statements of Nored were not available at that date,” reads the financial report.

Nored is also one of NamPower’s largest debtors that switched off last year for a few hours due to non-payment.

Toivo Shovaleka, the acting chief executive of Nored, declined to respond to questions sent to him.

“Thank you for reaching out to Nored, however, as a matter of principle, we do not respond to innuendos without substance. I will make an exception by referring you to directly inquire from our staff whether they have ever experienced salary delays,” he said before referring this publication to the company spokesperson.

The Windhoek Observer wanted to know why Nored has not presented its shareholders with annual financial statements for years.

The paper also sought to verify the company’s financial stability following reports of last month’s salary delays.

The Windhoek Observer also inquired about Nored’s plans to settle its over N$250 million debt with NamPower from last year.

All male board

The appointment of Nored’s new board of directors for the next three years has also drawn criticism for its lack of diversity.

The new board consists of Johannes Uushini as chairperson, John Mumba (vice-chairperson), Ruacana constituency councillor, Andreas Shintama, Simeon Uahengo, Timotheus Shikeva, and retired senior cost accountant manager at NamPower, Faris Ambunda.

Leandro Kapolo and Lydia Nghaamwa were appointed as NamPower’s alternate directors and representatives.

Members of the public took to social media to express their concerns.

“Where is our diversity on this board? Where is it? Where is gender representation?” Imms Nashinge

“Diversity is broad, and Nored’s jurisdiction is not well represented and covered. Whose interests are they representing? One needs to look into that.” Robert Kells Kabunga

“The arrogance with which ethnicity is being done in our country is worrisome. This begs the question: Is this done out of ignorance or willfully? Whatever the case, this is dangerous and unsustainable.” John Nakuta

Nored, in an announcement that was published in several newspapers, stated that the directors were appointed by its shareholders.

Nored’s spokesperson, Simon Lukas, dismissed the accusation of lacking diversity, saying that the board member is a woman.

According to him, the Nored shareholding agreement stipulates that the company’s shareholders appoint the company’s board of directors.

“Our directors on the board are not representing regions. Please do not sensationalise the story with incorrect information. Stick to what we provide. We clearly indicated that they are representing RAEC and LAEC,” said Lukas.

One of the new board members, Andreas Shintama, the chairperson of the Omusati Regional Council, confirmed his appointment by stating that members had elected him to represent RCEC on the board.

“We had a meeting, and I was elected to represent our regional company,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maghambayi said they sent in names, and only the alternative member, Shikeva, was considered.

“We don’t know what happened to Victoria Kauma’s name. We don’t even know who decided on the final names,” he said.

Maghambayi added that Nored is holding the regions hostage because the regional councils refused to renew the partnership agreements.

The Omusati regional governor, Erginus Endjala, stated that he does not know how the appointment of the directors to Nored’s board works.

“I am in the dark. I do not know how it is done. I cannot comment now. Anything I say will be vague. I have to go back and find out how it works,” said the governor.

Endjala was also unable to comment on the names of the companies that are involved in Nored.

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