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Works fall apart as Minister and PS clash

Mon, 18 February 2013 02:13
by Confidence Musariri
News

Works PS blackmails Director ..as rift with Minister widens

The appointment of Angeline Simana Paulo as Director of Civil Aviation has widened the rift between the Minister of Works and Transport Erkki Nghimtina and his Permanent Secretary, Peter Mwatile.
Nghimtina appointed Simana-Paulo last December in the absence of his accounting officer who was on leave.
She had acted in this position for three years while director Bethuel Mujetenga was in Canada before he returned but left the ministry in a huff after infuriating President Hifikepunye Pohamba by allowing a helicopter with US military markings into Namibia.
The Villager has since received confidential minutes of a meeting between Mwatile and Simana-Paulo on 8 January 2013 where the later was categorically informed that she ‘does not deserve the job’.
The minutes show that Mwatile told Simana-Paulo that if she takes up the job she would not be paid as he ‘decides over the budget’ upon-which she informed the PS that she had already been working on the same job without reward for three years.
The minutes which have also been passed on to the office of the minister read, “The Permanent Secretary started by asking whether I know that the Minister did not consult him and that he used the wrong provisions in the Civil Aviation Act. I asked the PS why he is not addressing the matter with the Minister (sic) and he said because I was still a civil servant irrespective of the Minister’s interpretation. The PS also wanted to inform me that he has the right to decide to fill my position and, therefore, displace me. The PS, furthermore, asked whether I knew that I was not entitled to any acting allowance because the budget line that the Minister in terms of that Civil Aviation Act can receive still has not been created. It is at this point that the PS asked me whether I knew that nobody at the Directorate wanted me. He said I quote ‘they don’t like you and have decided to go on strike and take issue with the Hon. Minister about your appointment’.”
Contacted for comment on the minutes, Simana-Paulo refused to shed light on them but confirmed the meeting, “True, I was called in to tell the PS why I should get that job. I highlighted to him that I was one of the two economists in the ministry until my subsequent promotion to Deputy Director from 1 May 2003 to 31 August 2006. I was instrumental in initiating and motivating the need for an amendment of the Road Traffic and Transport Amendment Act, No. 6 to allow Namibians who where abroad and had missed the opportunity on 1 January 2001, to exchange their old Green Card Licenses for the new Sadc Driver License. I informed him of the many projects such as the Integrated Transport Master Plan, the Integrated Urban Master Plan that I was the Ministerial Focal Point. These projects were approved by Cabinet and are funded by the European Investment Bank and GIZ.
“I studied the voluminous Draft Diagnostic Reports single-handedly and summarised for the Executive Management Team, including the Minister. I also referred to a motivation I wrote to the African Development Bank for grants which Namibia can benefit from as a Middle – Income Country which could be used to strengthen our regulatory oversight capacity and enable us to review the outdated White Paper Policy on Transport. That is basically what we discussed, the rest was confidential, unless if he decides to speak.”
However, in the minutes, Simana-Paulo tells the PS that it is actually the Under Secretaries in the Ministries that want her out citing the fact that she had unearthed a massive scam at civil aviation, which involved two of his Under Secretaries as well as the now retired director Bethuel Mujetenga.
“I told him that I also know that people’s dislike of me is because I stopped at civil aviation the careless spending in attendance courses that today are equated by the PSC for some as the equivalent of Diplomas in Civil and Electrical Engineering, including him. This is despite the unfair and inconsistent treatment of those who are holders of valid Diplomas in Aircraft Engineering and Aviation Security after two years of full time studies. I helped the State to raise the level of compliance status with the International Civil Aviation and the European Commission by making several submissions that demonstrated our capability or willingness to address our aviation system deficiencies. It is during my time at Civil Aviation that the numbers of inspectors were raised including improved remuneration above service-approved scales,” the minutes read.
Adding, “I said to the Permanent Secretary that I consider the appointment by the Minister as an instruction and a call to national duty, though it came at a time I had long considered to leave the Public Service by end February 2013. At this point the PS interjected by expressing his happiness that my intended resignation would automatically solve the problem for those disliking me because I would automatically also leave the DCA. I told the PS that this was my country of birth and therefore the decision to continue with the assignment by the Hon. Minister, whose trust I have earned had in my view no bearing at all on my intended resignation.”
Minister Erkki Nghimtina has told The Villager, the power to appoint Aviation Director lies with him and that those trying to block it have something to hide.
“There are three Acts, the one of 1964 which says Minister may appoint a director subject to PSC approval, and the one of 1991 which says the Minister will appoint Director of Aviation. In 1998, there was an amendment to that Act which states that the appointment will be subject to Section 3. Section three talks about the industry. If the PS is acting in such a manner, I have a feeling perhaps someone within the Ministry is the one trying to block my appointment of Simana-Paulo based on her critiques and ability not to take things for granted. It could be that someone is trying to cover up for their misdeeds which they think Simana-Paulo will unearth as she is well-known for being no-nonsense,” said the Minister.
With all the evidence of a rift, Mwatile confirmed the meeting but refused to shed light saying, "as an adminstrator of the ministry I handle the HR function as well and being an internal matter, I will not go deeper into this one."
 

High profile corruption case swept under the carpet

Administrators in the Ministry of Works and Transport are up in arms over the lack of action in the case of Deputy Director Engineering Services Emmanuel Mwangosi who was nabbed by the Anti Corruption Commission in a sting operation in 2010.
A Ministerial Disciplinary Committee chaired by Mathias Nangolo, was supposed to have passed its verdict on 16 November 2012 but Permanent Secretary Peter Mwatile wrote to Nangolo advising him not to pass the verdict after the accused had met with the PS, during the hearing process.
This has irked top ministry officials who feel that Mwangosi might not have acted alone but had the backing of top Works and Transport officials when he solicited money from a company the ministry had allocated two feasibility studies during 2010, the Grootfontein district hospital and Windhoek prison.
Nangolo has referred all the questions to Mwatile saying his hands ‘are tied now as he is just a massager in a sensitive matter’.
Mwangosi, a Tanzanian,  is accused by Nicolaas Tromp CEO  of Wolrepalsons Service of Namibia,  previously known as KV3 Consulting Engineers of asking to be paid N$20 000 for structural civil engineering work which the company secured from Ministry of Works and Transport.
Apart from the N$20 000 down payments, every invoice which was to be submitted for payment, Mwangosi would charge 10% of the amount.
Due to pressure from Mwangosi, the engineering company owned by Frans Ndoroma and Otto Shikongo tipped the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
ACC then came up with a clandestine operation which led to Mwangosi being caught red-handed with N$10 000 of Government operational money.
He did not deny being caught with the money on his body by ACC investigators but stressed the money had just been handed to him by Tromp as legal money which Tromp owed him for the work he had done for him.
He said Tromp approached him during his private time to provide engineers to carry out structural civil engineering work for job he had received from Government, a statement Tromp denied vehemently.
Mwangosi also maintains Tromp approached him for engineers from Tanzania.
“The money we discussed about was not even for me as remuneration but for the expenses to bring the people here. An estimate was done that probably N$20 000 will be enough for two people for return ticket and accommodation. There is no time at which I demanded as remuneration. When he gave me N$10000 I thought he was satisfied with one candidate only. I was not aware that he already made a trap against me. I have CVs for the people and emails.”
Yet Mwangosi’s statements contradict not only with him but with what Tromp and the ACC has said.
According to Tromp, “Just after we received the appointment letters from the ministry in June, Mwangosi invited me to his office and told me that there were also documentation projects that were allocated to us. He asked that we make a donation to the people. He stated that it is part of our work and demanded the sponsorship we talked about in previous meeting and said we are to discuss the modality of the process.  
“He said initially when you get a project there should be a down payment following invoices that must be percentage of the project. On 25 August 2010, he invited me again and showed me the appointment letter for the documentation project of Usakos Hospital to design a construction of N$29m and told me there is another list of appointment for us for projects at secondary schools at the value of N$70m and I recorded this on my cell phone. He reminded me about the down payment and asked when the payment would be made and I said I will see next week, if it can be done since it was a long weekend.”
At a meeting on 3 September 2010, the two met and Mwangosi was not happy that Tromp had not brought the money.
“I told him my financial people need some sort of tax invoices on that, stating the reason for payment and he said I must not involve other people in this.”
Mwangosi wanted cash transfer.
It is then that company director Otto Shikongo informed Deputy ACC Director Advocate El Van Der Merwe at the ACC offices on 07 September.
The ACC recorded a call from their office between Mwangosi and Tromp which confirmed the cash amount the time and rendezvous of the deal.
 “In that recorded telephone discussion, his payment came down to N$10 000 from N$25 00 to be paid for the Usakos job, and for the other project he said he will confirm when we meet,” the ACC says.
On September 8 2010, an ACC investigator, William Llody then recorded the meeting between Mwangosi and Tromp, by using a state of the art video recorder on Tromp’s belt and putting another on his car keys and another on his shirt pocket.
When they met, Tromp says Mwangosi seemed suspicious and worried as he told him not to mention anything about money on cell-phone, figures or percentages unless if the meeting is at his office.
He was not happy with the call Tromp had made the previous day.
Says Llody, “We gave him (Tromp) three recording devices. One was a digital straightforward recorder, another one which was a remote control device which can be used as a video recorder and can take photos.
“We wrote down the serial number of all the N$10 000 notes and he signed for it. Mwangosi picked up Tromp and dropped him as we followed behind recording the whole deal. After Tromp got off the car, we pounced on him and he had the money in his pockets, he took out and gave to us.”
The Ministry charged him with misconduct and in his summary ACC Chief Investigating Officer JP Constantin said Mwangosi lied about paying Tanzanian engineers and is adamant the money was for him.
The interference by the PS in dropping charges against Mwangosi last month has added a new twist because he contravened the Public Service Commission (PSC) Act Section 17-III states “any staff appeals must be forwarded to the PSC with the recommendation of the disciplinary committee and not wait until the punitive measures has been recommendation.”
In this case, Mwatile seemed to have stopped the verdict prematurely which raises the questions on whether  Mwangosi was acting with someone, following his comment to the DC that, “The appointments are never done by one person there is a committee under the chairmanship of the Under Secretary and I know one person can influence the whole group...”
Mwangosi is still working for the Ministry of Works and Transport and his boss, Under Secretary Andrew Mwazi confirmed that he has been at work ever-since and never suspended.
Contacted for comment Mwatile yesterday said Mwangosi’s issue is an internal matter and refused to comment further.

Simana-Paulo exposed top officials in shoddy deal

In her early 40s, Angeline Simana-Paulo has been Director Transportation Policy and Regulation within the Department of Transport.
She served as the Director of Civil Aviation (DCA) from 1 September 2007 to 30 October 2010 and again from 14 February to 30 April 2012, upon which she unearthed massive corruption within the directorates.
Last June, she wrote to Anti-Corruption Commission Director, Paulus Noa about how the non-academic qualifications of Ehrenfriede Murangi, a Chief Clerk within the DCA were being manipulated by Murangi herself, then Director of Civil Aviation, Mujetenga and the Public Service Commission (PSC) to advance Murangi to the position of Aerodrome Inspector within the Division Aerodrome Certification.  
Her argument was that Murangi was just a clerk and had never worked at an airport to claim experience. It was during that time that she discovered that Aerodrome Inspectors Gouws and Geingob did not meet the entry requirements for this job category.
Their highest qualification was Grade 12 Certificate and attendance Certificates and Diplomas what is referred in the Public Service as non- qualifying training. Her argument was that Namibia being a signatory to the Chicago Convention will not improve its Aviation Safety System if appointments were not procedural.
She has reported the case of an aviation security chief Wendy Muller  who unprocedurally procured N$100 000 worth of computers for the DCA from her own son’s business and has asked that such “a person of trusted position be brought to account as DCA cannot trust an unscrupulous aviation security chief to handle sensitive issues like the President’s aircraft.”
Besides overseeing the ban of NATA which duped government by training only 28 pilots over a decade instead of the agreed 60 trainee pilots per year, she was at the centre of Cabinet’s decision to terminate the African Civil Aviation Commission (Afro-CAA) contract, after she fingered several Under Secretaries in a clandestine operation.
The Government Attorney has since filed a civil claim to the tune of N$702,798.52 against Afro – CAA and matter will be in the High Court this March.
In 2009, Cabinet approved that the Ministry of Works and Transport prematurely terminate the contract it entered into on 6th January 2004 to host the Headquarters of the African Civil Aviation Authority (Afro-CAA).  
The initiative to establish the African Civil Aviation Authority was promoted through a private concern (the African Civil Aviation Agency), which government later realised had a lot of under secretaries involved.
According to the initial contract, the costs implications to Government to host the African Civil Aviation Authority should have been reduced substantially after the inauguration of the regional initiative, as stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement.  
“However, it became crystal clear that the Afro-CAA would continue to be a financial drain on the Ministry as the Cabinet approval entailed that the Ministry finance the operational expenses of the Agency until the establishment of the Afro-CAA,” reads part of the termination letter.  
A forensic audit by the Auditor General revealed that very little was achieved in terms of the perceived benefits that would have accrued to Namibia in terms of employment creation associated with international organization as well as the development and implementation of harmonized civil aviation technical and safety standards plus the adoption of uniform regulations across the continent.
Through Afro-CAA, Government had lost N$1.5m to false claims mostly “submitted and certified correct without any supporting documentation and as a result various amounts were claimed twice or even three times,” then Works Minister, Helmut Angula had written.
According to Angula, who had replaced Joel Kaapanda, this resulted in expenditure totalling N$106,859.90 claimed more than twice and fraudulent travelling claims worth N$506,116.30 for project promotion activities and which were never mentioned in any of the progress reports submitted.
The cost increases in 2006/2007 as a result of a once – off back payment of N$1,388,288.12 on request of the Afro – CAA for increases in their monthly funding from N$84,000.00 to N$139,000.00 resulted in double payment.  This is now the bone of contention and the civil claim the Government Attorney is confident would succeed.
“Minister Kaapanda was the one who first smelt a rat and personally asked me to dismantle it upon which I came across a whole lot of million dollar mismanagement, hence we are taking them to court,” said Simana-Paulo this week.
The Ministry assert that the 10% adjustment on the N$84,000.00 should have been N$92,400.00 and not N$139,145.00.  The total of N$1,3m once off back payment represented a startling 60.4% increment and the Afro– CAA would be expected to repay the total so overpaid.  The instalments covered a period of twelve (12) months.  
The claim totalling N$498,647.55 that the Afro – CAA demanded, through its Lawyer - Bierman and Legal Practitioners, after the notice to termination the Memorandum can equally be opposed successfully, the Ministry says in its court documents.
 Our investigations have shown that the Afro-CAA deal was signed when then Permanent Secretary Shihaleni Ndjaba was on leave by Under Secretary Phillip Amunyela who had no authorisation. According to sworn affidavits, even the acting PS Akwake had no powers to put his signature to this deal.
Because of that Afro-CAA now argues that an amendment to the MOU, negotiated and signed 6th June 2007, in the absence of Ndjaba gave effect to the extended period from 31 March 2009 to 31 March 2014, an allegation the Ministry refutes.
Amunyela last week told The Villager that he would not make any comment since the matter is now at court. “Or else anything I say may be sub judice,” he said.
Afro-CAA now holds Under Secretary for Administration and Centralised Support Services, Kenapeta Kauaria “personally liable for his actions in the litigation against the Ministry.”
Kauaria in his affidavit defends Afro-CAA and states that the AG’s forensic audit was intended, “to find fault in the company and cover up the impurely done termination of the Agreement which was carried out without properly reading the agreement and its amendment... without consultation with me.”
He further argues against government that Afro-CAA achieved its objectives laid out in the agreement to full satisfaction and that this achievement was confirmed by the company’s forensic audit.
However the court documents prepared by the Ministry of Works reveals that, “
“The Office of the Government Attorney is satisfied that the AFRO – CAA would have little recourse against the Ministry given the mounting evidence of claims frivolously submitted, some without supporting evidence, some submitted more than once and the demand of the total N$702,798.52 overpaid.”