Air Namibia’s Namases Suspended Amidst in-Fightings

The national airline, Air Namibia, yesterday confirmed that it has suspended its Managing Director Theo Namases, as well as the General Manager for Airport Services, Noks Katjiuongua. Both suspensions are with immediate effect and the board of directors, chaired by Harald Schmidt, has already appointed Chief Operations Officer (COO), Rene Gsponer, a Swiss national, to act as Managing Director until investigations are finalised

“Her suspension is merely to allow for the airline to conclude and finalise ongoing investigations, and it does not in any way suggest that she has been found guilty of anything,” explained Air Namibia’s Head of Corporate Communications, Paul Nakawa said in a statement yesterday.

“Once the investigations have been finalised, the airline will have two options, which are either to proceed with disciplinary action, if the airline feels it has a case, or to lift the suspension and allow her to resume duty.”

Nakawa elaborated that the same process will be followed regarding Katjiuongua’s suspension. “The reasons for both their suspensions have been explained to them and in the interest of professionalism we will not divulge such information as per the airline’s disciplinary policy and as dictated by standard governance procedure when dealing with such matters,” noted Nakawa. Air Namibia has been riddled with allegations that that its board chairman, Harald Schmidt, has unlawfully been interfering with the day-to-day operations of the company.

It has also been alleged that Schmidt intends to remove Namases from her position as managing director and that he aims to transfer full accountability of managing the national airline to Gsponer.

Schmidt, however, refused to comment when New Era contacted him yesterday and instead referred all queries to fellow board member and Chair of the Board’s Human Resources Committee, Tim Ekandjo. “As the Chairman I should not and will not be able to comment. The (Air Namibia) board has in fact decided that (Tim) Ekandjo will communicate on behalf of the board,” said Schmidt. However, numerous attempts to contact Ekandjo, who is the General Manager for Human Resources at mobile giant MTC, proved unsuccessful. Meanwhile, Nakawa assured the flying public that the suspended pair’s absence from duty will not in any way affect the operations of the airline. “There have also been a lot of media queries regarding Air Namibia’s Air Operators Certificate (AOC), we wish to assure the public and our customers that Air Namibia remains a safe airline with an excellent safety track record, but while we say so we are also cognisant that we will never become complacent when it comes to safety,” he said.

He added that Air Namibia has a valid license to operate, which is renewed annually by the Directorate of Civil Aviation. “We are doing everything we can to ensure that our recertification process goes smoothly,” concluded Nakawa.

Source : New Era