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First Couple breaks new ground

Tue, 26 May 2015 13:20
by Faith Haushona-Kavamba
Business

President Hage Geingob and the First Lady, Monica Geingos, made history last week when they became the first African First couple to declare their assets.
Geingob revealed during a press conference held last Wednesday that his assets are worth N $50 million, while those of his wife are valued between N $45-60 million.
By law, neither the President nor his wife, are obliged to declare their assets. The move will promote transparency and honesty between government officials and the public as Ministers and Permanent Secretaries are also expected to follow suit. “…It is clear that in administering a Nation, one has to be transparent and accountable. It is for this reason that I have decided to declare my assets in public, for your scrutiny,” Geingob said, kick-starting the declaration.
During the press conference he highlighted article 42 of the Namibian Constitution states that cabinet members may not take up any other paid employment, engage in activities inconsistent with their positions or expose themselves to any situation which carries with it the risk of a conflict developing between their interests in their official capacity and their private interests, in support of his decision.
The Head of State initially made his intentions to declare his assets known during his state of the nation address earlier this year. At the time, he said that the declaration would happen during the second week of May but that plan was slightly waylaid by a week.
“I am undertaking in order to look holy. I am doing this due to my personal conviction,” Geingob said.
 He noted his track record as proponent of transparency and ethical behaviour in Government could be traced back to his first tenure as Prime Minister, when he initiated a program to look into the issue of ethical behaviour in Government. “Therefore it is not an idea that I latched onto recently, but it is an idea that I have carried with me for several decades,” he added
Collectively, their assets are valued between N$95 million to N$111 million; with Geingos having slightly more assets than her husband. A large portion of their worth was acquired through bank investments.
The President began his declaration chronologically, starting with the assets he acquired pre-independence from when he worked as at the United Nations Secretariat as Political Affairs Officer in 1972.
He was subsequently appointed as the Director of the United Nations Institute for Namibia in 1975, a position he retained until the cusp of independence when he went on to become the first Prime Minister.
His assets range from cash investments, property, livestock and a collection of art, jewellery and precious gems, while his wife’s’ are in fishing, retail and media, to name a few.
His properties take up an estimated N$8 million to N$10, which include a farm near Tsumeb, a house on the outskirts of Windhoek and property in Henties Bay.
Geingob’s other assets include N$14.8 interest bearing investments split between local banks such as Nedbank and FNB, and a bank in the United States.
Another N$10.83 million is in investments and money market accounts with Allan Gray and Pointbreak Wealth Management. He also owns HG Consultancy which is valued at N$10 million. His livestock are valued at an estimated N$ 664 000.
Geingos on the other hand a founding member and chairperson of EBank Limited and its holding company EBank Holdings, a founding member and executive director of Pointbreak Equity and Pointbreak Property Unit Trust, its holding of companies Pointbreak Group Holdings and Pointbreak Namibia Holdings, and a founding member and executive director of Stimulus Private Equity and Stimulus Investment Limited. She also owns a residential property in Klein Windhoek valued at N$7.5 million.
She has already begun resigning from some of the companies which she heads so as to not contravene article 42 of the constitution.
Geingob challenged nay-sayers who felt that he was not being forthright to step forward and challenge him, vehemently denying that he had some assets hidden through proxies.
He added that he would declare his assets again at the end of his tenure, evidently in a bid to silence those who would say that he would gain more wealth through his office.-faith@thevillager.com.na