Sioka acted in bad faith: NEF

14 Nov 2013 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 14 NOV (NAMPA) – The Namibia Employers’ Federation (NEF) has accused the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Doreen Sioka of a hidden agenda in removing members of the Social Security Commission (SSC) Board.
NEF president Advocate Vekuii Rukoro said in a strongly-worded statement issued on Thursday that Sioka has ulterior motives in the matter, and acted ultra-vires and in bad faith.
“We also happen to know the true reason for her action and that is why we shall not waste our time and resources challenging her unlawful action in court at this time,” he stressed.
The board members are chairperson Rick Kukuri, who was appointed by the Labour Minister; Albert Biwa, Helena Kapenda and Ottilie Katenda, who represented Government on the Board; Derek Wright, Hofni Shikongo and Evelyn Breuer, all from the NEF; and Asnath Zamuee, Connie Pandeni and Josef //Garoeb, who represented the trade unions.
The minister forced some of them to resign and dismissed others early September this year for failing to reinstate SSC Executive Officer Kenandei Kapara Tjivikua.
Tjivikua was suspended on 12 December 2012 for ‘serious misconduct’, namely that of ‘insubordinance, disobedience and related acts of misconduct’.
He was, however, found not guilty of alleged transgressions during a disciplinary process on 08 October this year.
Tjivikua resumes office on 17 November 2013. In the meantime, Sioka is performing the functions of the board until a new one is appointed.
Sioka said the board members wasted SSC’ resources in suspending Tjivikua, adding that the situation will now make it difficult for the board and Tjivikua to work together in the future, and the entire episode led to the minister to lose confidence in the board.
Rukoro said the reasons given are “nothing but a poorly disguised smokescreen for the real reason, which will become apparent very soon for all Namibians to see”.
The NEF claimed that the SCC Board followed the correct procedures in taking such disciplinary steps against Tjivikua, saying the charges are fact, and the procedure was correct.
The federation also believes that any board must act collectively, and the NEF representatives on that board acted in good faith at all times in the interests of effective and efficient operation of the SSC, and caring for the public funds under the administration of the SSC.
Rukoro claimed that the NEF representatives were at the forefront of improving the investment regime and control after the Avid Investment debacle, which led to the return on investments to radically exceed the market average.
Seven suspects were arrested in April 2008 for allegedly obtaining N.dollars 30 million under dubious circumstances from the SSC. The suspects will appear in court again next year.
A new board is expected to be appointed before the end of the year.
“The NEF pledge to nominate persons with the correct expertise and knowledge to the new board, and will encourage those appointed to diligently follow their fiduciary responsibilities to the nation and to stand up and speak out in defense of these responsibilities without fear of retribution whenever the need might arise in the future,” according to Rukoro.