The general manager of finance and administration at the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor), Mino Gariseb, is embroiled in a dispute with the company’s top management regarding the nature of his employment.
Gariseb joined Fishcor on 2 December 2022, taking over a position previously held by Paul Ngalangi, who resigned in 2021.
Last week, Gariseb was placed on administrative leave on the recommendation of the company’s chief executive officer (CEO), Clive Gawanab, allegedly due to issues related to a conflict of interest.
The Namibian has learnt that Gariseb was asked to remove his belongings from his office and has allegedly been banned from entering the company’s offices at Lüderitz.
Gawanab this week declined to comment on the matter, requesting that due process be followed.
On 24 August the company’s board human resources subcommittee resolved to recommend the termination of Gariseb’s employment contract due to factors related to a conflict of interest.
It was previously reported that Gariseb holds shares in Epango Fishing, which was engaged in a joint venture with the Fishrot-accused Icelandic company Samherji.
A letter from Gariseb’s legal representatives, Sisa Namanje and Co, addressed to Fishcor, which The Namibian has seen, claims he has not been given a fair opportunity to respond to the CEO’s allegations.
The legal team also expressed concerns about Gariseb’s employment status, asserting that it should be permanent in nature and not subject to the successful completion of a probationary period.
Gariseb’s legal team says he was initially given a deadline of 20 August to submit written responses to the allegations, but this date was later changed to 8 September.
“Therefore, contrary to your understanding as reflected in your letter dated 1 September 2023, our client, by virtue of him being an employee, is entitled to challenge the procedural unfairness of the proposed termination of his employment,” the legal team said.
The team demanded the immediate withdrawal of the 24 August notice and threatened to escalate the matter to the Office of the Labour Commissioner should their demands not be met.
The legal team also questions the board’s jurisdiction in employment matters, arguing that such authority should rest solely with the CEO.
Gariseb referred all questions to Fishcor’s CEO.
Sources at Fishcor claim Gariseb’s employment contract is being challenged because he refused to sign a sales deal for 8 000 tonnes of horse mackerel on the instruction of Gawanab and board chairperson Milka Mungunda to a company with no fishing vessel.
Gariseb allegedly refused to sign off on the deal as the company allegedly intends to use a vessel that is flagged for illegal fishing.
Gawanab said: “Please bear with the process.”
Mungunda referred all questions to the CEO.
Fishcor has been struggling to secure vessels to catch its 20 000 tonnes of fish, of which 12 000 tonnes have allegedly been sold to Venmar Fishing on the instruction of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
The funds from the sale were used to compensate over 400 former employees of Seaflower Pelagic Processing, whom the Fishcor board removed from the company in 2020.
The company has since been facing challenges in creating substantive employment opportunities for these former employees.