Stephanus Defends Nangolo-Rukoro

FORMER acting Namibia Training Authority chairperson Laurencia Stephanus has defended suspended CEO Maria Nangolo-Rukoro.

Stephanus also said she was not an employee of the Government Institutions Pension Fund’s Keetmanshoop office as reported last week but she is the Karas regional head of the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs. She however confirmed using GIPF facilities to fax the letter to the NTA, due to a power failure at her office.

Stephanus said she wrote the letter, which authorised the increase of Nangolo-Rukoro’s salary from N$910 000 to N$1,18 million per year on 30 June 2011.

The Namibian understands that the implementation of her salary increase is one of the charges Nangolo-Rukoro is facing, after the NTA board decided to charge her for allegedly increasing her salary without approval.

She is also accused of fraudulently forging Stephanus’ signature on the letter which authorised the salary increase.

Stephanus told The Namibian that the decision to increase Nangolo-Rukoro’s salary was made by the board which, in 2011, decided that a benchmarking exercise should be conducted before adjusting the CEO’s salary.

When the board’s term ended Stephanus was asked to stay on in the interim while a new board was being appointed. She said the decision was made by the late education minister Abraham Iyambo.

Stephanus further said she has letters of her appointment and the mandate to implement board resolutions and that she first appointed an auditing firm which determined the salary before she sent it to Iyambo for approval.

She said after Iyambo’s approval, she informed the NTA officials to adjust the CEO’s salary. “I signed it and it was not the only letter I signed and sent to the NTA in that fashion,” she said.

Stephanus said she had no idea the letter she wrote was the subject of a dispute.

“I am hearing for the first time that there are issues regarding my signature,” she said.

The Namibian has learnt that the current NTA board appointed a handwriting expert to verify whether Stephanus’ signature was forged or not, but never called her to verify.

Media reports said the suspended chief executive officer is facing charges which include fraudmisrepresentation andor dishonesty conflict of interest andor failure to declare a perceived conflict of interest to the NTA board gross negligence and exceeding authority.

Insiders said the disputed contract with China Jiangxi International for revamping Valombola VTC valued at N$58 million was cancelled.

Nangolo-Rukoro has been on suspension since February last year following a protracted disciplinary process.

Source : The Namibian