DTA calls for inquiry at Telecom for misinvested millions

The DTA of Namibia has called for a Presidential Commission of Inquiry at Telecom Namibia over multi-million dollar investments it made into Angola and South Africa (SA) that did not see any returns.

The party said Telecom made the investments totaling N.dollars 544 million close to six years ago in Angolan outfit Mundo Startel and Neotel in SA.

“Every day we read newspapers and seeing massive layoffs at TransNamib, Namdeb and Telecom Namibia,” said DTA president McHenry Venaani during the party’s first management meeting held at its headquarters on Thursday.

Last year Telecom embarked on voluntary separation of workers as part of its efforts to cut labour costs, because the State-owned utility telecommunication company incurred huge staff costs of N.dollars 506.419 million for the 2012/2013 financial year.

TransNamib, on the other hand, is in the process to retrench 43 per cent of its workforce (963 employees) by 31 March this year to ease pressure on the railway parastatal’s strained finances and improve its productivity and efficiency.

As for Namdeb, the company shed 1 442 workers in 2008.

This, according to Venaani, shows that the country is headed towards a “labour, economic shockwave”, and a lot of Namibians would end up without jobs.

“How do we secure jobs if unemployment becomes a critical issue in this country? This is becoming a worrisome trend that needs serious attention from the next parliament,” he stressed, referring to the next National Assembly to be sworn in March this year following general elections in November last year.

The DTA leader insisted that his party is aware that Telecom has misinvested millions of dollars with its partner in Angola and “this money has gone missing”.

He said the Angolan firm is not able to pay this money back and yet the Namibian Government never commissioned an inquiry to investigate what had happened to the investment.

“Who authorized this investment and agreed to spent tax payers’ money in Angola for a business venture that the company could not get a return on,” he wanted to know.

All these parastatals, Venaani noted, are good at turnaround strategies but these strategies never work and instead need bail-outs from Government.

“So corporate governance would need an urgent review for us to review how our parastatals are performing,” he advised.