Minister Acts On Transnamib Property Deal

WORKS and Transport Minister Erkki Nghimtina has sought Cabinet’s backing to terminate the controversial TransNamib Private Public Partnership (PPP) property deals.

The Namibian has it on good authority that last month Nghimtina asked for Cabinet’s blessings to terminate the agreements and compel the parastatal to acquire its own properties without outside partners.

Sources say Nghimtina’s request could face opposition as Prime Minister Hage Geingob has allegedly told Nghimtina to stop whatever action he contemplates taking and allow Geingob to deal with the matter accordingly. This was alleged after the affected businessmen sought an audience with Geingob to complain about Nghimtina booting them out of the PPP deals.

Titus Nakuumba of Afrikuumba and Paulo Shipoke of Stacks Property Investment Thirty Seven allegedly met Geingob to ask for his intervention because Nghimtina wanted to terminate their agreements.

Shipoke however denied that there was such a meeting and stated that: “The issue is not with us but between the minister and the TransNamib board.” Nakuumba could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The agreement between TransNamib and Afrikuumba gives the private company the rights to develop and run Erf 194, which is the stretch of real estate along Independence Avenue in Windhoek. The property consists of car dealerships, boutiques, beauty salons, restaurants and some TransNamib technical workshops.

Nghimtina dismissed claims that he was instructed to drop the matter and said he was working with Geingob and Attorney- General Albert Kawana to find a solution to the problem. He added that the agreements are in contravention of the law and government policy.

The two companies are the main beneficiaries of property deals which have been subject of criticism since 2012 for allegedly not being in TransNamib’s interest.

In his submission, Nghimtina told Cabinet that the agreements were concluded without his permission. He also added that he, last year, informed the TransNamib board that such agreements where in contravention of the parastatal’s enabling act as well.

He further submitted that TransNamib board chairman Festus Lameck had responded informing the minister that the board was tasked with the responsibility to run the company and that it was not required to seek the minister’s permission to carry out its duties.

The TransNamib board also allegedly told the minister that terminating the agreements will open the company to law suits because the private partners have already incurred financial costs based on the terms of the agreements.

Nghimtina told Cabinet that he had sought legal aice from the Attorney-General’s Office, which states that the agreements are not valid because they go “against public policy and public interest”.

A joint venture company was established in which TransNamib only holds a 22% stake and the rest belongs to Afrikuumba for a 99-year lease period. TransNamib will only benefit if the joint venture company makes a profit and will only get 22% dividends. The property will be returned to TransNamib after the 99 years.

Stacks Property Investments received lease agreements to develop the properties at Bahnhof Square development in Swakopmund.

TransNamib has a 20% stake in that development and 20% in the TransCaprivi Highway Mall in Grootfontein, which measures 20 000 square metres.

Other beneficiaries of the controversial property deals are Quenet Consortium, Beau Homes Real Estate and Genuine Investments.

Source : The Namibian