Staff Writer

Bank of Namibia (BoN) Director of Banking Services, Sam Shivute is front runner to land the Commissioner position at the newly established Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) amid allegations that Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi has deliberately pushed through the candidature of his former colleague in a questionable recruitment process.

This comes as insiders revealed that Shiimi had forwarded three names for cabinet’s consideration, with Shivute scoring 20 points more than other candidates despite his lack of an accounting or tax background, a key requisite for the post.

The scoring of the Shivute is said to have raised concern among members of the deliberation Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, with the final decision set to be made by Cabinet chaired by President Hage Geingob.

The development comes as the Finance minister in cahoots with Penda Ithindi, a Deputy Director in the ministry, has been accused of usurping the mandate of the NamRa board, by taking over the recruitment process.

The NamRA board had been tasked by then Finance minister Calle Schlettwein to appoint a suitable and qualified candidate to head the new agency and had engaged the services of a recruitment agency to shortlist candidates.

Shivute worked with Shiimi at the central bank when the Finance minister was Governor.

NamRa board Chairperson Anna Nakale-Kawana when contacted by the Windhoek Observer was in the dark about development surrounding the finalized candidates as the agency board was still to be informed by the Finance ministry.

“I’m not informed yet if there is anybody appointed. I wouldn’t know, because the submissions to cabinet are done by the Minister. We don’t know which name was submitted,” she told the Windhoek Observer.

“The process of appointing the Commissioner is done with consultation between the Minister, and the Board. It’s not that we’re consulted. When the position was advertised, it started in public, through a consultancy. There was nothing secret. It was advertised like other positions,” said Nakale-Kawana.

When contacted for comment over the developments, Shiimi and the Ministry Executive Director Erica Shafuda who also sits on the NamRA board, requested that the newspaper send its inquiry to the finance ministry spokesman, Tonateni Shidhudhu.

“The recruitment process of the Commissioner of NAMRA is not yet finalized but we have made good progress. Interviews were conducted and names were recommended for other assessments. The interview process was conducted by an independent panel of professionals and the Minister was not involved in that process at all. As I said, the process is at an advanced stage, and an announcement will be made once everything is finalized,” Shidhudhu said.

Shivute, when contacted for comment claimed ignorance over his consideration for the NamRa top post.

“I work for Bank of Namibia, and while I am in the employment of Bank of Namibia, I can only talk about what I do at BON, I can’t be talking about anything else. To be honest, I’m not aware. Maybe you can find out from cabinet or from the Ministry of Finance. I’m a very happy employee at BoN,” he said.

Shivute was previously seconded by the BoN to the Ministry of Finance and appointed as acting Inland Revenue Commissioner.

The revenue body was established by government as part of efforts to increase revenue collection efficiency in the country.