State House Defends Pohamba Tender

STATE House has said President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s children are gown-ups who make their own decisions on who they do business with, without consulting their father.

The statement comes after news that Pohamba’s daughter, Kaupumhote, was awarded a N$16,4 million contract by the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) to build houses in Otjiwarongo.

Mukwaita Shanyengana, the special aiser to the President on media, said Pohamba has nothing to do with the tender involving his daughter, Kaupumhote.

Presidential Affairs minister Albert Kawana also told parliament yesterday that Kaupumhote told Pohamba about her business ambitions but did not brief him on what type of business she wanted to venture into.

“The President was not involved and he does not allocate tenders. Every individual person, be it a son or daughter of the president, journalist, has the right to be in business as an independent person, which is their constitutional right that should not be violated,” Shanyengana said in a letter addressed to the Confidentegrave newspaper.

Confidentegrave reported that Kaupumhote and Old Mutual Africa managing director Johannes !Gawaxab’s daughter, Taschiona, were awarded the tender for their company, Kata Investments, which was formed less than 12 months ago to build 42 core and 19 conventional houses.

“The President’s children, in this regard, are grown-up men and women who do not ask permission to do business from anyone, not even from their parents,” Shanyengana said.

Shanyengana said the NHE chief executive officer, Vinson Hailulu, told State House that the contract was given according to normal tender procedures and that it was a public-private partnership and not part of the Build Together programme which was merged into the mass housing presidential project.

The Confidentegrave story did not say Kaupumhote and her partner were awarded a mass housing tender but an NHE tender.

Kawana said Kata Investments had a “unique idea” of employing about 30 women at construction sites in the name of empowerment.

He said the firm is in partnership with Tulipamwe Building Contractors, a company which has a lot more experience.

Kawana also admitted that the tender was delayed which has affected the actual construction which only started in December last year instead of October as planned.

The minister who also serves as Attorney General said the President is a honest man. “Those who know our President know him as a decent, humble and down to earth person who cannot be corrupted,” Kawana said.

Kaupumhote (26) allegedly resigned from her information technology job at a bank in Windhoek while her partner, Taschiona, is quoted in the media as saying they deserved the contract because they went through the correct procedures and received a loan from the Development Bank of Namibia. Taschiona also said they had to compete in a male-dominated industry and that the tender was the first of many.

WHO IS KAUPUMHOTE?

According to her Linkedin account (a business social network site), Kaupumhote described herself as “a young Namibian female professional specialising in databases yet with enough zest to look beyond my spectrum”.

“I keep my ears open for new and great projects I can be a part of. Be it in my professional discipline or in a completely different scope. Anything that can positively contribute to the socio-economic development of my country is worth paying attention to,” she says.

Her profile shows that she was database administrator at FNB Namibia Holdings where she worked for the past two years. She also worked as a tutor of computer hardware at the Polytechnic of Namibia. Previously, Kaupomhote worked as assistant systems administrator at United Africa Group.

Some of her listed interests include coming up with business ideas and seeing them through, helping others unlock their potential, professional networking in and outside Namibia.

Kaupomhote, who specialised in systems administration and networks at the Polytechnic, was a top 10 finalist in the Miss Polytechnic 2009 pageant.

ELITE CHILDREN

This, however, is not the first controversy involving the President’s children. In 2011, media reports exposed how children of the elite – including Pohamba’s other daughter Ndapanda – were controversially awarded scholarships in 2009 to study in China.

Kaupumhote is also not the only child of a high-ranking politician to benefit from the multi-million dollar NHE tender over the past year.

Sam Shafiishuna Ekandjo, the son of minister of youth Jerry Ekandjo, who until December 2012 served as minister of housing, also got a NHE tender for N$42 million.

Oruhapo Property Solutions which is co-owned by Sam was given a tender to build 227 houses in Luumlderitz, despite the company’s lack of experience, having been registered on 19 March 2012.

Source : The Namibian