Namfisa suspends its CEO

Namfisa suspends its CEO

THE Chief Executive Officer of the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa), Frans van Rensburg, has been suspended with immediate effect.

Chairperson of the Namfisa board, Cecilia Ndishishi, announced the suspension in a brief statement yesterday. “The Board views this matter as an internal matter and therefore is not prepared to elaborate on the reasons for his suspension at this stage,” Ndishishi stated.However, several sources indicated that Van Rensburg’s suspension was related to his handling of the provisional curatorship that Namfisa had Legal Shield placed in from the end of March to late last month.The High Court ended the curatorship on August 24, after the provisional curators placed in control of the company reported to the court that Legal Shield had complied with all Namfisa’s directives in connection with matters where the regulatory body was complaining that the company was in breach of the Short-term Insurance Act.Van Rensburg confirmed his suspension when contacted late yesterday, but declined to comment any further on the matter.His contract as Namfisa CEO, which was to expire at the end of this month, had been extended to the end of October, and Namfisa has been advertising to invite applications for the CEO position.His suspension effectively rules Van Rensburg out from re-applying for the position, which he has held since Namfisa was created by an act of Parliament in 2001.Before that, he had fulfilled the same function at the Ministry of Finance since at least 1994.Ndishishi said that in the interim, Lily Brandt, Namfisa’s General Manager of Finance and Administration, has been appointed as Acting CEO.It is expected that she will occupy this position until a new CEO has been appointed.Ndishishi and her colleagues on the Board will interview candidates for the position today.Ndishishi declined to comment on the reasons for Van Rensburg’s suspension.However, it is widely believed to be connected to the ending of provisional curatorship of Legal Shield Namibia, the legal services insurance firm that has been locked in a bitter legal dispute with Namfisa since late last year.The Namibian reported earlier this week that a court appearance before Judge Kato van Niekerk, during which Legal Shield’s five-month-long curatorship was to be ended, nearly ended in limbo after legal counsel for Namfisa, Patrick Kauta, denied that he had been given any instructions by Van Rensburg to this effect.Kauta asked the court to postpone an application for the discharge of the provisional curatorship by three weeks.Dave Smuts SC, for Legal Shield, told the court that Van Rensburg and the appointed provisional curators, Bob Meiring and retired Chief Justice Johan Strydom, had agreed at a meeting the previous Friday that the curatorship could be ended and Quinton van Rooyen re-instated as Legal Shield’s Managing Director.But Van Rensburg had apparently gone on holiday without informing Kauta of the outcome of this meeting, during which Strydom and Meiring effectively gave Legal Shield a clean bill of health and recommended the re-instatement of Legal Shield’s own management.In March, Legal Shield became the first insurance company since Independence to be placed under legal curatorship after Namfisa claimed that it had acted outside the law governing short-term insurance activities.Meiring yesterday firmly declined to comment on the issue, saying the whole matter has now become sub judice again.He would be submitting an affidavit to the Namfisa Board in this regard, he said.”The gentleman in question is still out of town, and I will not and cannot comment at this stage.(…) the issue is now totally sub judice again,” Meiring said.Other sources suggested that a report submitted to Cabinet by Van Rensburg at the time of Namfisa’s move on Legal Shield differed significantly from the curators’ final report.This allegedly prompted a high-level push for Van Rensburg’s suspension, according to unconfirmed reports.* John Grobler is a freelance journalist; 081 240 1587″The Board views this matter as an internal matter and therefore is not prepared to elaborate on the reasons for his suspension at this stage,” Ndishishi stated.However, several sources indicated that Van Rensburg’s suspension was related to his handling of the provisional curatorship that Namfisa had Legal Shield placed in from the end of March to late last month.The High Court ended the curatorship on August 24, after the provisional curators placed in control of the company reported to the court that Legal Shield had complied with all Namfisa’s directives in connection with matters where the regulatory body was complaining that the company was in breach of the Short-term Insurance Act.Van Rensburg confirmed his suspension when contacted late yesterday, but declined to comment any further on the matter.His contract as Namfisa CEO, which was to expire at the end of this month, had been extended to the end of October, and Namfisa has been advertising to invite applications for the CEO position.His suspension effectively rules Van Rensburg out from re-applying for the position, which he has held since Namfisa was created by an act of Parliament in 2001. Before that, he had fulfilled the same function at the Ministry of Finance since at least 1994.Ndishishi said that in the interim, Lily Brandt, Namfisa’s General Manager of Finance and Administration, has been appointed as Acting CEO.It is expected that she will occupy this position until a new CEO has been appointed.Ndishishi and her colleagues on the Board will interview candidates for the position today.Ndishishi declined to comment on the reasons for Van Rensburg’s suspension.However, it is widely believed to be connected to the ending of provisional curatorship of Legal Shield Namibia, the legal services insurance firm that has been locked in a bitter legal dispute with Namfisa since late last year.The Namibian reported earlier this week that a court appearance before Judge Kato van Niekerk, during which Legal Shield’s five-month-long curatorship was to be ended, nearly ended in limbo after legal counsel for Namfisa, Patrick Kauta, denied that he had been given any instructions by Van Rensburg to this effect.Kauta asked the court to postpone an application for the discharge of the provisional curatorship by three weeks.Dave Smuts SC, for Legal Shield, told the court that Van Rensburg and the appointed provisional curators, Bob Meiring and retired Chief Justice Johan Strydom, had agreed at a meeting the previous Friday that the curatorship could be ended and Quinton van Rooyen re-instated as Legal Shield’s Managing Director.But Van Rensburg had apparently gone on holiday without informing Kauta of the outcome of this meeting, during which Strydom and Meiring effectively gave Legal Shield a clean bill of health and recommended the re-instatement of Legal Shield’s own management.In March, Legal Shield became the first insurance company since Independence to be placed under legal curatorship after Namfisa claimed that it had acted outside the law governing short-term insurance activities.Meiring yesterday firmly declined to comment on the issue, saying the whole matter has now become sub judice again.He would be submitting an affidavit to the Namfisa Board in this regard, he said.”The gentleman in question is still out of town, and I will not and cannot comment at this stage.(…) the issue is now totally sub judice again,” Meiring said.Other sources suggested that a report submitted to Cabinet by Van Rensburg at the time of Namfisa’s move on Legal Shield differed significantly from the curators’ final report.This allegedly prompted a high-level push for Van Rensburg’s suspension, according to unconfirmed reports.* John Grobler is a freelance journalist; 081 240 1587

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