Mutorwa/Vugs battle lines drawn … as he breaks silence in the NAC board case
Although works and transport minister, John Mutorwa resolved to reinstate Beverly Gawanas Vugs to the Namibia Airports Company board, it has come out that he is not happy with some of the allegations she made against him in her court papers.
Gawanas was sacked last week from the NAC board as deputy chairperson and immediately filed an urgent court application disputing the minister’s decision.
In order to prevent being dragged into a possibly lengthy and costly court case, Mutorwa came out to agree that he had made some mistakes in kicking her out.
In a letter written to the attorney general, Albert Kawana, dated 16 October 2018, Mutorwa accepted that “during the process of taking the decision to remove Ms. Beverly Vugs… some provisions of the Companies Act, might not or could not have been fully adhered to, neither properly considered”.
However, Mutorwa took issue with some allegations made by Vugs in her founding affidavit which he labelled as nothing else but pure lies.
Vugs had blasted Mutorwa for failing to commend her effort to try and clean up some rot at NAC emanating from certain tender awards marred by irregularities and corruption.
Instead, she claimed that the minister responded to her efforts with discouragement and victimisation.
“Despite our efforts to clean up the company, it appears the first respondent (Mutorwa) for one or other reason is not happy with the third respondent’s board (NAC), and in particular in respect of my work aimed at cleaning up the company’s bad image through corruption and mismanagement,” said Vugs.
She bashed Mutorwa for “constantly and unlawfully interfering in management affairs of the third respondent (NAC) without following the provisions of section 9 of the Airports Company Act”.
Mutorwa refused to comment further on this other than stating that he had reserved his right to, at an appropriate time, directly approach Vugs “to clarify and elucidate her injurious malicious statement”.
Mutorwa said Vugs’ leadership had “totally failed” to formally inform his ministry and that of public enterprises about the court verdict soon after October 8th, 2018.
This was a court battle by NAC to try and reverse an allegedly illegal N$211 million tender awarded to China State Engineering for phase two upgrades of the Ondangwa airport.
Although Vugs has successfully been reappointed as director at NAC, it is not clear whether her relationship with her boss will be a smooth ride from here onwards in light of the outburst between the two.
Presently, Mutorwa confirmed that newly appointed Leake Hangala will remain as board chairperson while Advocate Irene Visser maintains her hold of the deputy chairperson position.
The minister is currently in hospital but due to the urgency of this matter, he said he would remain available and ready for consultations at any agreed times.