NYC Bosses Admit Breaking the Law

YOUTH leader Armas Amukwiyu has conceded that the National Youth Council broke the law by pumping State funds into the troubled youth-owned company Bridgehead Holdings without the blessing of two ministries.

Amukwiyu who sits on the NYC board and is also chairman of Bridgehead Holdings, acknowledged that NYC was supposed to get endorsement from the youth and finance ministries to fund Bridgehead Holdings.

“Although NYC did not seek the permission of the Minister of Finance in respect to Section 13.1 of the NYC Act, the executive chairperson of the NYC Mandela Kapere takes full responsibility for the oversight. NYC has subsequently disclosed this investment to both ministries,” Amukwiyu told The Namibian last week.

The Namibian reported last week that Bridgehead has been struggling financialy and only paid N$300 000 to the NYC, finances aimed at funding youth projects under the parastatal. Sources said NYC pumped close to N$1, 2 million into the struggling youth company, allegations denied by Amukwiyu.

Amukwiyu said the company has been making progress, despite allegations that the firm was benefiting a few young elite.

Bridgehead joined Uukumwe Youth Empowerment Consortium in 2011 in which the company owned 40% shares and became a beneficiary of commercial fishing rights to harvest horse mackerel, seal and large pelagic species.

Amukwiyu said Bridgehead received N$880 000 from the consortium in 2012, N$228 000 in 2013 and N$1 million this year.

He said the total amount the holding company received to date is N$2 million, of which 30% was remitted to NYC for youth activities while the rest was reinvested in the operations and activities of the company.

Amukwiyu and Sydney !Ganeb, Bridgehead’s chief executive officer, are board members of the NYC as well as good friends.

Amukwiyu said the NYC board had approved and committed a minimum of N$500 000 of which only N$150 000 was utilised as start-up cost.

“The company is proud that despite the minimal shareholder contribution it is able to sustain its operations without asking the shareholder for financial bailouts,” he said.

Amukwiyu, who doubles up as Swapo coordinator in Oshikoto region, said Bridgehead has invested “substantially in its diverse portfolios through its own finances in sectors such as fishing, mining and property development”.

He however did not explain the amount Bridgehead receives from DMS Communications, a mobile firm that specialises in bulk SMS services in which it holds shares.

The Namibian reported last week that Bridgehead has been in financial trouble lately with staff going for a few months without salaries.

Youth leaders from the ruling party complained that most revenue generated from the company is spent on sitting fees for board members and the salaries of five staff members. This is despite the fact that one of the reasons the company was formed was to generate funds by tapping into the country’s natural resources for the benefit of the youth affiliated to the council.

Namibia is struggling with a high youth unemployment rate of 56% according to the Namibia Statistics Agency for those between 15 and 19, and 49% for those between 20 and 24 years.

Amukwiyu insisted that the company will continue to develop its current and future enterprises with the view of contributing to the economic development of Namibia, employment creation and maximising shareholder value.

The Namibian reported last year that several youth leaders from the ruling party questioned why Amukwiyu and !Ganeb were serving on the subsidiary company when they are board members of the NYC. They questioned how the holding company would be accountable to NYC if the board members, who are supposed to be watchdogs over the company, were also its managers.

Source : The Namibian