Probe RCC Payments – Lawyers

METCALFE Attorneys, the lawyers representing suspended TransNamib chief executive officer Sara Naanda have asked the transport minister to investigate payments made by the Roads Contractor Company as legal fees for Johan Piek.

Piek is TransNamib’s turnaround strategy consultant, while the RCC acting chief executive officer, Pieter Oosthuizen, is the TransNamib board chairperson.

The letter, signed by Richard Metcalfe, was hand delivered to Alpheus !Naruseb on Friday with a request to investigate Oosthuizen regarding the payments.

Metcalfe claims that the RCC has processed invoices amounting to N$200 000 to Kopplinger Boltman Associates as legal fees for aice pertaining to Piek, while he has nothing to do with the roads contractor.

“Why ‘Restructuring Johan Piek’ should be paid by RCC should be explained by Mr Oosthuizen and the board of directors as it is a fraudulent payment,” said Metcalfe. The letter further reads that Piek was informed by the immigration ministry that he would not be granted a work permit to work at TransNamib and that he stayed at home in April although he submitted an invoice demanding payment of N$210 000.

“Without a work permit, you cannot be employed and submit invoices for N$210 000 when you sit at home as this is also fraud,” said Metcalfe.

Oosthuizen denied the payment yesterday saying it was a mix-up that came as a result of Kopplinger Boltman Associates rendering their services to both RCC and TransNamib and him being the chairperson of the TransNamib board.

“RCC engaged Kopplinger for own assignments and TransNamib used him too. There is no truth that RCC paid the bills of TransNamib. RCC also does not have money in any event,” said Oosthuizen.

The Namibian recently reported that RCC needs a bailout of at least N$400 million from the government to continue operating. RCC’s bank account is currently frozen after the company failed to pay Value Added Tax (VAT) going back nine years.The Namibian has seen an invoice with RCC’s letterhead and purchase order number (#335) which shows that legal consultation fees for ‘Restructuring Piek’ were paid to the amount of N$4 438,36 for 17 March.

Piek has a contract to help TransNamib with restructuring.

Another invoice also shows that N$29 000 has been processed for payment to Kopplinger for Oosthuizen’s legal consultation fees of a defamation case against Windhoek Observer in March.

Oosthuizen at the time of going to print couldn’t say why he was using company money for his legal battle.

When called for comment yesterday, minister !Naruseb refused to deny or confirm receiving the letter while RCC’s board chairperson Sonia Bergh said she did not know of the payments and referred questions to her deputy Anna Matebele. TransNamib acting CEO Hippy Tjivikua said he could not answer because yesterday was his family day while the cellphones of spokespersons Aily Hangula-Paulino and Struggle Ihuhua were off.

Messages were left on their phones. John Piek also did not respond to a message left for him.

The Namibian earlier this year reported that TransNamib had wanted to move from non-core businesses to focusing on core businesses which led to the company laying off 1 000 of 1 600 workers by the end of March this year.

Source : The Namibian