Agribank Hits Back At Union

AGRIBANK has reacted to accusations made by the Namibia Financial Institutions Union (Nafinu) and its workers about the ‘unhealthy situation’ at the bank, calling them inaccurate and unfair.

The Namibian recently reported that workers at Agribank have urged the Office of the Ombudsman and the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the bank’s chief executive officer, Leonard Iipumbu, and the human resources manager, Beata Kapolo, for frustrating them.

The workers also demanded that the pair be investigated to establish their appointment and Kapolo’s qualifications, as well as the unwillingness of the CEO to share findings of an investigation on Kapolo by Ernst and Young Namibia.

In a media statement released by the bank this week, spokesperson and general manager of corporate services Regan Mwazi said that the allegations are not only unfair but also inaccurate.

“Nafinu’s allegations and present conduct are contrary to the recognition agreement between the parties in that its media statement is marred with assumptions and allegations that have neither been proven nor verified for accuracy,” Mwazi wrote.

“A petition calling upon the CEO to ‘probe these issues and take the necessary disciplinary measures against the HR manager’ was received from the staff in 2012. In 2013 the CEO addressed a memorandum to all staff members of Agribank informing them that Ernst and Young Namibia had completed its investigations into the allegations.”

Nafinu general secretary Asnath Zamuee called the bank’s media statement meaningless and cheap.

“It is a cheap attempt to cloud the current issues at the Bank, which are of great concern to the union and the members it represents. Since the arrival of Kapolo, everything at the bank went pear-shaped. She is running the HR department like she would run her own kitchen! This is unacceptable! The Bank doesn’t belong to her or the CEO. It’s a government institution that should be run on good corporate governance principles,” Zamuee said.

She further said, those protecting Kapolo (including the CEO, Leonard Iipumbu) “should come out and tell us why they are protecting her. It is not making any business sense to stick like glue to an under-performing manager who is creating an unfavourable labour environment at the Bank.”

Mwazi said that the decision not to release the report was not coming from the CEO but from the board of directors.

“The report could not be made public for the following reasons: The disclosure of the contents of the full report was a decision to be made by the board of directors of Agribank and not by the CEO,” Mwazi stated.

He further added that as per the general terms and conditions of the engagement agreement signed with Ernest and Young Namibia, any information, aice, recommendation or other content of any reports, presentations or other communications Ernst and Young Namibia provided under the engagement agreement other than client information, was for the internal use of Agribank only.

“Therefore, Agribank can confirm that Kapolo meets the qualification requirements for the position,” Mwazi said.

Nafinu maintains its stance that Kapolo is incompetent and not qualified to be the HR head. “She is a cause of unhappiness, frustration and demotivation to the employees of the Bank. If allowed to remain in her position, we foresee an intolerable situation – which might be devastating to the Bank,” Zamuee added.

Source : The Namibian