Smit unhappy with Geingob's comment on SME Bank

02 Aug 2017 15:20pm
WINDHOEK, 02 AUG (NAMPA) – DTA of Namibia Treasurer-General, Nico Smit has expressed shock that President Hage Geingob said the former and current SME Bank chairpersons should not be blamed for the bank’s collapse.
The Head of State on Monday at a press briefing on the country’s state of economy asked why former SME Bank Chairperson and current Presidential Affairs Minister, Frans Kapofi and Secretary to Cabinet, George Simataa should be blamed, when even the Bank of Namibia (BoN) had not picked up the transfer of N.dollars 200 million to South Africa.
In a press statement issued on Wednesday, Smit said it is appalling that the two should not be blamed for the calamitous exercise of mismanaging and misappropriation of the institution, when each had a fiduciary duty towards the SME Bank.
Smit said it is laughable that the President would regard the blame as the responsibility of BoN to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the management and board of SME Bank as set out in law.
Adding that one has to question whether President Geingob is familiar with the relevant legislation.
“This is nothing short of an exercise to protect the politically connected,” said Smit, adding if Parliament - the highest law making body in the country - is prohibited from debating the matter because it is before courts, then similarly the President is required to show restraint, despite the fact that his political lieutenants are the ones under the spotlight.
“It is also ironic that the President would continually make reference to the importance of allowing justice to take its course, yet he sees it fit to intervene in the process and prescribe outcomes,” said Smit.
The BoN on 01 March this year announced it is assuming control of the SME Bank, which includes disempowering the Board of Directors and executives following the discovery of what appeared to be unsound investments of close to N.dollars 200 million allegedly made in South Africa.
The SME Bank, which opened doors in 2012, is an agreement between the Namibian Government and Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe (MetBank).
The Namibian Government owns 51 per cent; shareholders of MetBank 30 per cent after the entity pulled out in 2013 due to Zimbabwe central bank regulations on foreign investments for local financial institutions; the Namibia Financing Trust 14 per cent; and a Zimbabwean businessman, Enock Kamushinda, owns the rest.