Cowan Petróleo e Gas S.A. has paid Namcor the N$50 million as a signing bonus for Cowan to explore for gas and oil in areas under the parastatal’s exploration licences.
“I informed President Hifikepunye Pohamba about Cowan... Prime Minister Nahas Angula and the board of directors have also been informed about the payment of the bonus which can help Namcor, experiencing some financial difficulties, tremendously,” Katti told this newspaper.
“It is the first time that an investor is paying a bonus to a parastatal and there are no strings attached. Namcor does not have to pay a penny for the exploration work,” Katti elaborated, perhaps giving the public a glimpse into his business model while also showing the his growing confidence in wheeling-and-dealing and dropping important names.
The name-dropping and the boastful swagger of Katti promoting his ‘facilitation’ business model is probably besides the point. The public knows well by now that he has built his riches on having close connections with government officials – both bureaucrats and politicians – who are key to the source of his exploration licences and other sources of income.
This week’s ‘facilitation’ deal raises eyebrows in its brazenness and, paradoxically, in the hidden messages that led to Namcor getting a N$50-million sign-on ‘bonus’.
Namcor, as a government-owned company, plays a major role across the oil industry – upstream (exploration) and downstream (the supply of fuel to institutions and individuals). Its mandate comes from the law. That means Namcor has muscle that foreign investors and Namibian businesses can only envy.
That Namcor has to rely on a middleman whose footprint in business in Namibia is not much more than a post office box and a tablet computer, should worry citizens who are witnessing this ‘facilitation’ phenomenon.
What could Katti, or any wheeler-dealer for that matter, really offer the government what the Minister of Mines and Energy and the directors or top management of Namcor cannot do? Does that mean all the people in those official positions are incompetent to source such business opportunities themselves? Why should anyone buy the “no strings attached” disclaimer when this is the way individuals line their pockets in that industry?
There is always a catch and Katti’s involvement should be viewed as too close for comfort. His role here is another indication that Namibia is on auction – piece by piece. And “facilitators” like Knowledge, and those involved in the UraMin/Areva instance with Minister of Trade, Hage Geingob, know the country’s resources are up for grabs.
They Deserve Applause
MANY of us left at home watching our country’s athletes competing at the Olympic Games in London have felt deflated, perhaps even disinterested because our athletes have not been able to get anywhere near the medal standings.
Feeling empty is understandable, but anyone criticising the athletes is directing their dejection at the wrong people. Our athletes actually performed extremely well against the odds.
Middleweight boxer Mujandjae Kasuto went to the second round and lost on points. Jonas Matheus went out in the first round of the bantamweight fight also on points.
Even Gaby Ahrens, our flag-bearer during the opening ceremony should not be written off for finishing at the bottom of the shooting competition. Nor should we judge the national champion cyclist Dan Craven harshly for crashing out after 80km of the 250km race.
It is a mistake to write off Tjipekapora Herunga who was sixth in a semifinal heat of the women’s 400m. And then there are those who think Helalia Johannes’s 12th spot finish in the marathon was disappointing, even thought she set a new Namibian record; or that Beata Naigambo finished too far off the pace in 38th spot out of more than 110 marathon runners. They competed against the very best in the world who have top resources.
If one does some checking and compares the training, expertise, advice and incentives their competitors get from their fellow nationals then one will appreciate that our Olympians have done us proud.
With better support, we look forward to improved performances in the years ahead.