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 Ombudsman Advocate John Walters (Photo by: Pearl Coetzee) NAMPA

By: Andrew Kathindi

Outgoing Ombudsman John Walters says that he could not conclude if any tribal favouritism took place in the controversial recruitment of 14 employees at the Central Procurement board of Namibia (CPBN) last year as the board never gave an explanation.

A recruitment of a majority Oshiwambo speaking employees at the CPBN in May last year was flagged by a number of complainants, including the

The National Unity Democratic Organization (NUDO), at the Ombudsman’s as unbalanced.

In the Ombudsman’s latest annual report that was submitted to the national assembly, Walters says that although a number of irregularities were found following investigations, none of them include the matter regarding tribal favouritism as the board was mum during investigations.

“I cannot make a definite finding in regard to the allegation that the majority or all of the appointees are from one “tribe”, “racial group”, “population group” or ethnic group”, since the Board could not provide any explanation for the happening, neither could I draw any reasonable inference from the available information,” said Waters.

Another red flag regarding CPBN’s recruitment process during the same period was that only women were appointed. 13 women out of 14 employees were appointed. However, Walters argued that this was not irregular as “the majorityof the applicants are females and it is to beexpected that the majority of those shortlisted, interviewed and appointed would be female.”

429 applicants applied for 9 vacant positions ofwhich 303 were women. Out of 72applicantsshortlisted, 58 (81%) were women.

The report however flagged a number of irregular recruitment procedures, with six employees who were eventually appointed, scoring below the 65% pass rate, while at the same time; they did not meet the advertised experience and qualification required for the positions.

Walters found that Aune K Ndeutapo, Zambwe Manyando, Twenty-One-March Kangonga, Kristof Shiwalo, Daphney Meutudhana and Leonard Tsheehama should not have been shortlisted, interviewed and appointed.

Walters recommended that the Board take the necessary disciplinaryaction against those who were responsiblefor the mistakes which led to the irregularappointments of persons and inform theOmbudsman of the outcome.

An investigative report into the hiring procedure at CPBN last year identified the Board’s Chairperson, Patrick Swartz in “irregular, unfair and prejudicial” recruitment.

This comes as, earlier this year, following the Ombudsman’s investigation into CPBN’s hiring process, the ministry of finance began consultations to amendPublic Procurement Act, Act No. 15 in a bid to enhance transparency and strengthen governance issues around the CPBN, which will see Swartz and his deputy, Lischen Ramakhutla, being stripped of administrative powers.

Julia Heita

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