Oil company letter does not look legitimate – Alweendo

Tom Alweendo

Mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo says a letter shared on social media alleging maladministration and corruption in the mines ministry does not look legitimate.

In a press statement this week, Alweendo said the oil company was unable to confirm receipt of the letter which it purportedly wrote.

The letter alleges that the appointment of petroleum commissioner Maggy Shino was done corruptly and a company named Zambezi Exploration has been treated favourably regarding its oil block application.

“Corruption is abhorrent and it is something that must be condemned by all of us and those found engaging in it, must be held accountable,” Alweendo said.

With regards to Shino’s appointment, Alweendo said she was appointed “procedurally and fairly”.

He said applicants for the advertised position of director of petroleum were interviewed by an independent panel and Shino scored the highest at 72%, while the next highest candidate scored 58%.

Alweendo said the panel recommended Shino’s appointment to the Public Service Commission (PSC).

However, the PSC declined to appoint her, arguing that she did not have a minimum of three years’ experience at managerial level, Alweendo said.

According to Alweendo, the PSC commissioner resolved to appoint the candidate who scored 58%, motivated by the need to encourage the identification of key talents to improve performance.

“We successfully appealed against the PSC’s decision, as per the Public Service rules.

“Our appeal was based on the fact that Shino did indeed serve for more than three years at managerial level. She was also ranked the highest, by a large margin, by the independent panel that conducted the interview,” he said.

He said Zambezi Exploration did not enjoy any favourable treatment.

Alweendo said companies that qualify to be awarded exploration licences are required to provide a suitable performance guarantee within a reasonable time before a licence is issued.

“Zambezi successfully applied for an exploration licence and was requested to provide a guarantee within a period of 30 days. They then requested for an extension of time citing reasons we considered reasonable, and their request was granted,” Alweendo said.

The letter’s author made a reference to how a company called Red Soil was treated in comparison to how Zambezi was treated.

“The facts are the following: Red Soil applied for an exploration licence and was unsuccessful, whereas Zambezi was successful,” he said.

Alweendo said Red Soil felt aggrieved by the ministry’s decision and challenged it in the High Court, and the court ruled in favour of the ministry.

Alweendo said the ministry does not condone corruption in any form.

“We do not look the other way where corruption is proven,” he said.

Prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila also denied accusations of favouritism and corruption levelled against her in connection with Shino’s appointment.

In a statement released by her office on Tuesday, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said all Public Service appointments, including Shino’s, strictly adhere to the guidelines outlined in the Public Service Act 13 of 1995.

“Any person that is aggrieved by the appointment is advised to follow the grievance procedures as prescribed under the Public Service Act 13 of 1995.”

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila further distanced herself from allegations of any personal relationship between her and Shino.

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