Mulunga appears before disciplinary hearing

Immanuel Mulunga

Embattled National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) boss Immanuel Mulunga has been formally charged by the parastatal and is expected to answer to a multitude of allegations at the hearing, which started this week.

Mulunga was expected to plead during the disciplinary proceedings yesterday, after he was suspended in April for six months.
His suspension was subsequently extended twice, in August and September.

Mulunga will reportedly be required to answer to a number of charges, including allegations of fraud.

Sources familiar with the matter said this comes after the company conducted audits and investigations into a number of transactions the parastatal entered into, allegedly at Mulunga’s behest.

“We respect the privacy of our staff members, as a matter of policy, we do not comment on private staff matters. Our organisation is committed to maintaining a respectful and confidential work environment,” said Namcor board chairperson Jennifer Comalie, yesterday.

Mulunga could not be reached for comment yesterday and is believed to have been in the hearing all day.

Revelations of a strained relationship between Mulunga and his board, especially its chairperson Jennifer Comalie, first made headlines around February this year, but things actually already started falling apart during 2022.

The board maintained that Mulunga and his management team disregarded rules and that some of his decisions were too costly for Namcor. There were also suggestions of possible corruption.

Meanwhile, Namcor management cried undue interference on operational matters from the board, with a potential invisible political hand moving chess pieces behind the scenes.

Questions now remain around how Mulunga and Comalie, who have maintained a level of cordiality over the years after having been former schoolmates at the then prestigious Concordia College, found themselves in each others’ crosshairs.

The stand-off has seen Mulunga being suspended on a multitude of corruption allegations.

He was, however, cleared in one case by both a board commissioned internal review process, as well as the Anti-Corruption Commission.

This was the case in which Mulunga paid N$100 million on behalf of Namcor’s partners in a transaction that would acquire shares in an Angolan oil well with the country’s national oil company Sonangol.

He was accused of making the payment despite the board prohibiting this.

However, it was subsequently concluded that Mulunga acted in good faith and had no ill intentions when he made the payment.
In a shock twist, Comalie was arrested on drug dealing charges in March, while attending a board meeting at the parastatal’s premises, only for the charges to be thrown out of court last month.

At the time of Comalie’s arrest, some – including political players, pointed to an alleged set-up in which Comalie was likely framed and the drugs planted in her car as she was preparing to suspend Mulunga.

A questionable N$60 million transaction between Namcor and military-owned Enercon Namibia, is currently under investigation. It has emerged that the company used some of the proceeds of Namcor’s N$60 million to settle its own and associated companies N$300 million debt to Namcor.

Mulunga will also have to answer for Namcor’s dealings with Enercon, which is owned by brothers Peter and Malakia Elindi, as well as military company August 26 Holdings.

The joint venture has a 15-year contract (since 2014) to supply fuel to the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs, as well as to build and refurbish oil depots.

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