Uanguta to steady Namcor ship

The National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor), which has been in the news for the last year due to leadership and other crises, has chosen Ebson Uanguta to steer the state-owned enterprise.

Namcor announced the appointment of Uanguta, who is currently the deputy governor of the Bank of Namibia, as the company’s interim managing director (MD) yesterday.

The Namcor board shared its confidence in Uanguta’s ability to lead the company.

“We are confident that under Uanguta’s leadership, Namcor will achieve new heights of success and continue to play a vital role in the nation’s energy sector,” the board’s statement said.

The appointment is effective from 11 January, and will extend for a period of six months.

Uanguta replaces Shiwana Ndeunyema, who has been acting in the position since April last year.

The Namcor board also highlighted Ndeun­yema’s leadership during a critical time at the parastatal.

“During his nine-month tenure, Ndeunyema played a pivotal role in stabilising the company and securing essential funding as part of Namcor’s turnaround strategy,” the statement said.

Ndeunyema was appointed as an interim MD after the substantive MD, Imms Mulunga, was suspended amid allegations of an unauthorised payment of N$100 million for an oil block in Angola.

Mulunga was first suspended in April for six months. His suspension was subsequently extended twice, in August and September.

Mulunga faced a disciplinary hearing in October last year, where he was made to answer for several controversies, including a Sonangol deal in which Namcor paid US$6,7 million (N$123 million at the time) on behalf of third parties to buy into an oil well owned by the Angolan state-owned oil company.

In December he was charged again in an investigation surrounding a questionable N$60 million transaction between Namcor and military-owned Enercon Namibia.

Ndeunyema, who was the business strategy executive, had been appointed to manage the company until the board appointee, Lionel Matthews, took up office.

Matthews, however, declined the position because of potential damage to his brand and family as a result of “falsehoods and media sensationalism”, leaving Ndeunyema to run Namcor.

Uanguta has experience in executive positions in the economic sector.

“Uanguta, a graduate of the University of Addis Ababa with a master’s in economics, brings a wealth of experience and management expertise to Namcor. Having served in executive roles at the Bank of Namibia for over 20 years, his extensive knowledge in financial and organisational management will be invaluable to the corporation,” the Namcor board statement said.

He also has a three-year tenure in the office of the executive director of the International Monetary Fund as an adviser under his belt.

He served in that position from 2007 to 2010.

Uanguta takes over the reins at a crucial period in the parastatals’ history.

Namcor owns stakes in various significant oil discoveries in the Orange Basin, including the Venus-1X prospect operated by TotalEnergies, as well as Shell’s Graff-1X and Jonker-1X oil discoveries.

The oil is anticipated to be extracted and become profitable in the next four years, according to mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo.

Meanwhile, Namcor is facing major challenges in managing its cash flow due to a troubled 2022.

As of September 2023, Namcor’s debt to suppliers stood at N$1,9 billion.

Last year the parastatal announced its plans to develop a 15-year strategic business plan to outline the company’s long-term sustainability with recent oil discoveries.

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