The National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia was rocked by yet another scandal with a board member getting arrested yesterday with drugs in her official vehicle.
The arrest is the latest in a string of controversies at the public fuel company.
The board member is known to New Era but cannot be named until she appears in court later today.
The arrest was also confirmed by the parastatal’s spokesperson Utaara Hoveka.
“I can only confirm the incident but further information can be obtained through the police,” said Hoveka.
Police spokesperson Kauna Shikwambi said a sting intelligence-driven operation resulted in the arrest, and a substantial quantity of drugs were discovered in her vehicle.
Specifically, the search revealed 935 grams of cannabis, 60 units of crack cocaine, and 10 grams of cocaine powder.
“The information was obtained through intelligence. Police were alerted and the car was searched,” said Shikwambi.
People familiar with affairs at the warring entity, however, suggest that the female board member could have been set up through the placement of drugs in her car to discredit her, as part of a bigger
She was on her way to a board meeting where the only agenda item was allegedly the suspension of Namcor managing director Imms Mulunga.
The arrest also comes amidst controversies between the board’s chairperson Jennifer Comalie and Mulunga over an ongoing investigation into Mulunga’s alleged involvement in a payment of over N$100 million for two Angolan oil blocks.
According to a local daily, Comalie confirmed this week that the board has started investigating an investment by Namcor in Angola which some see as a positive deal.
Namcor’s decision to pump additional money into the investment on behalf of third parties was not approved by the board and has raised eyebrows.
“The board is dealing with this matter. And yes, there is an investigation which is being carried out internally together with two other partners, but it is not yet done. This is all I can say for now,” Comalie was quoted as saying.
The probe is said to be into a transaction involving Namcor and Angola’s state-owned oil company, Sonangol, related to oil-producing blocks in Angola.
According to article, last year, Namcor, Sequa Petroleum from Britain, and Petrolog Group formed a joint venture called Sungara Energies, which agreed to pay N$8 billion (US$451 million) to Sonangol P&P for a 10% interest in block 15/06, 40% working interest in block 23, and 35% working interest in block 27.
“While Namcor agreed to pay US$10 million (N$170 million) towards the deposit, the partners only paid US$6 million (N$102 million), leaving a shortfall of US$6.7 million (N$100 million), and it is unclear which partner failed to pay.
Mulunga, took the transaction to the board last August, but it was allegedly rejected. Despite this, Mulunga reportedly went ahead to finalise the transaction without board approval, claiming that failure to pay would result in the loss of an oil block that is producing commercial oil.
The transaction is one of several issues that the board has reportedly clashed over.
The arrest has sparked an outrage with many public figures thinking that the arrest could be a set up.
“Crime is crime and should be dealt with but we should be cautious and not allow our criminal justice system to be easily deployed in order to settle personal scores and power struggles. Once we go down that road, it is difficult to restore confidence in our courts,” tweeted lawyer Kadhila Amoomo.
Commenting on the sage, The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani also tweeted, “Development at Namcor firmly cement my assertion that our corporate leaders are captured. Do you remember when I asked for renegotiations & making contract available when I was called names? We shall ask the Economics Committee to subpoena in due time Namcor’s who’s who. It’s fishy.”
“Shuuu, either we have entered a mafia environment and gangsterism or there are individuals involved in drugs. Either way, it’s bad. It would be helpful for the police to produce details!” said Windhoek city councillor Job Amupanda on Twitter late yesterday.