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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 09/05/18--15:00: Pensioner's land idle
  • Pensioner's land idlePensioner's land idleNo cattle, no money for plough A northern pensioner's hands are literally tied as he cannot work his land because he is simply too poor. A pensioner from Kaguni village in Kavango East has not ploughed his land for the past three years, as he has no cattle and cannot afford to hire a tractor.

    While driving along the Rundu-Mururani B8 road, about 20km from Rundu, Namibian Sun came across Immanuel Fundula and his family recently, who were seated in front of their homestead.

    A welcoming Fundula was in the company of his wife, Maria, and two children of their children, John and Ruth.

    John, who is a Grade 9 learner, acted as a translator during the interview.

    Fundula, who is a father of 17, explained he is struggling to make ends meet with his N$1 250 pension grant, which he uses to sustain his family.

    He said he has never secured formal employment and only worked as a herder on farms across the country.

    “Growing up, I just looked after other people's cattle to make a living or I would cut poles and sell them, in order to take care of my family. However, I cannot do that anymore because of my age,” Fundula said.

    Despite having a piece of land, situated away from his homestead, he does not have the means to make it productive and feed his family.

    He said he previously relied on a family member's cattle to plough his field and harvest mahangu and maize, but because the cattle died three years ago, due to hunger, he was unable to continue working his field.

    When asked why he does not make use of a tractor, Fundula said it is difficult to obtain one around Kaguni and they are also expensive to hire.

    He said he cannot pay the hourly rate of N$500 to hire a tractor, with his monthly pension grant.

    Fundula explained his financial situation is so bad he has had to take drastic measures, like not travelling with his wife to Rundu when she goes shopping, in order to save on taxi fare costs.

    “It is not just about going to town, but any other place which is far. Transport is expensive and that's why we decided that only one person travels at a time, to save costs,” Fundula said.

    He said having two meals per day is rare and there are days he and his family have to go to bed with empty stomachs.

    “Money is a problem. As you can see my wife is busy extracting the contents from the Omagongo, in order to make oil which we will put in our meat. We sometimes just eat what they call Monkey Oranges and go to sleep, and I hope this answers your question as to how life is in Kaguni village.”

    Fundula said he does not consume alcohol, as he has seen how his peers have turned out.

    “I see my friends and family members who drink alcohol and none of them are healthy or in a good mental state. I just believe that alcohol makes you crazy and for a person like me, who survives on his monthly grant, I am not reckless to spend my money on alcohol, which will contribute nothing to my life but will rather destroy it.”

    When asked whether they receive any assistance from government, Fundula said in the past they used to receive food parcels, but not anymore.

    John also shared how difficult life is, saying he was unlikely to go back to his school hostel, as his parents do not have the N$300 fee.

    He attends Maria Mwengere Secondary School, which is situated about 60km from Kaguni.

    When asked why he was not enrolled in Rundu, which is only 20km away from Kaguni, John said children from villages were often not accepted at “town schools”.

    John said Mathematics is his favourite subject and he is determined to become a teacher.

    “I am not ashamed of my parents or being from a poor family, but one day is one day, and I will take care of my family,” he said.

    John added they are waiting on his elder brother, who went to Noordoewer in the //Karas Region to search for a job

    He said his brother did not secure enough grade 12 points to qualify for university entry.

    “My brother went to go look for a job because he wants to make money and upgrade his points and go to university.”

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    B1 fraud accused refuses to pleadB1 fraud accused refuses to plead The former chief executive officer of the Road Contractor Company, Kelly Nghixulifwa refused to plead to the alleged fraud and corruption charges against him surrounding the B1 City property development project.

    A key suspect in the case of three business people arrested in February 2014, Nghixulifwa, refused when the alleged fraud and corruption trial was scheduled to kick-off before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Tuesday.

    Nghixulifwa, 58, is charged in the alleged fraud case alongside business persons Hafeni Nghinamwaami, 50, and 49-year-old Anna Ndoroma.

    The former RCC boss refused to plead to the charges against him after he raised strong objections to the formulation of the charges contained in the charge sheet.

    He now wants the court to issue an immediate order to compel the prosecuting authority to provide him with further particulars in which the State must explain in full details that the RCC is indeed a public body and that he (Nghixulifwa) was indeed employed by the RCC as a public officer at the commission of the alleged fraud.

    As a result of his refusal to plead to the charges, the commencement of the trial was postponed to 13 September 2018 in order to allow the State representatives enough time to respond to the objections request raised by Nghixulifwa.

    According to the court, Nghixulifwa's defence team is ordered to file their heads of arguments in respect of the accused's request for further particulars on or before 7 September 2018.

    The State team is ordered to file their heads of arguments in connection with Nghixulifwa's request on or before 12 September this year.

    Nghixulifwa refused to plead to the charges as per instructions he gave his privately-instructed South African defence lawyer, Vas Soni.

    The three accused face eight main charges including corruption, fraud, theft and money laundering.

    These charges stem from the RCC's involvement in the B1 City property development project opposite the Katutura State Hospital during 2005 and 2006.

    RCC started this in joint venture with /Ae //Gams Engineering.

    It is alleged that Nghixulifwa was a shareholder in /Ae //Gams Engineering and Cradle Investments but apparently concealed his stake in the two companies by having his shares held in Ndoroma's name.

    While still CEO, Nghixulifwa allegedly claimed payment from the parastatal and another construction company for the role Cradle Investments supposedly played in the construction of the RCC head office.

    The RCC board was allegedly also kept in the dark about Nghixulifwa's involvement in the companies.

    All three are free on bail of N$60 000.

    State Advocates Esegiel Iipinge and Jackson Kuutondokwa are prosecuting while Ondangwa-based defence lawyer Silas Kishi-Shakumu is appearing for Ndoroma and Windhoek-based defence lawyer Kadhila Amoomo is defending Nghinamwaami.

    NAMPA

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    Valentine's Day 'killer' awaits fateValentine's Day 'killer' awaits fateJudgement postponed until next Friday A man who allegedly killed his wife and her lover will hear his fate next Friday in the Oshakati High Court. Mathias kaShindinge Kalunga (48), who is accused of Valentine's Day double murder in 2013, will hear his fate next Friday, after judgement in the matter was postponed yesterday.

    Oshakati High Court judge, Herman Januarie, is currently on sick leave and will only be available on 14 September, according to Judge Marlene Tommasi, who postponed the matter.

    Kalunga is accused of shooting his wife, Selma Imbili (30), and her alleged lover, Matheus Yuye (39), with a 9mm Makarov pistol on a Valentine's Day evening at Omafo in Ohangwena.

    According to the post-mortem report, Imbili died as a result of six bullets that struck her, while Yuye was shot twice.

    Imbili was a mother of five and worked at a salon at Oshikango at the time of her death, while Yuye was an Angolan businessman.

    Kalunga has pleaded not guilty.

    He maintains he acted in self-defence, after the two victims allegedly tried to kill him by running him over with a vehicle.

    On 20 February 2013, Kalunga submitted a confession to a lower court in Ohangwena.

    He indicated that while he was working in Walvis Bay, a woman whom he identified as Hilya Haifeni, contacted him and informed him about an alleged affair between his wife and Yuye. Haifeni was allegedly also Yuye's lover.

    Kalunga said he promised to call and meet Haifeni once he travelled to the north, as he was employed at Tunacor, a Walvis Bay-based fishing company.

    “I then promised to call and meet her when I come to Ovamboland,” Kalunga said.

    However, on 29 March 2017, Kalunga gave the Oshakati High Court a different version, saying Haifeni was the one who pressured him to meet and had harassed him. When he finally met her in December 2012, Kalunga said Haifeni instructed him to tell his wife to stay away from Yuye.

    Despite his confession, Kalunga pleaded not guilty in July 2015 in the High Court.

    Court documents show that his legal representative at the time, Grace Mugaviri, indicated to the court on 28 July 2015 that Kalunga wanted to change his plea from self-defence to guilty for both murders.

    Two days later Mugaviri informed the court she was withdrawing from the case because her client had continued to change his instructions. Lucius Matota is representing the State, while Marcia Amupolo appears for Kalunga.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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    Ten years on, crisis mode is new normal for central banksTen years on, crisis mode is new normal for central banks‘Extremely big challenge’ With the interventionist genie out of the bottle, analysts say there's no going back for central banks. Jean-Philippe Lacour and Michelle Fitzpatrick - The collapse of US investment giant Lehman Brothers 10 years ago forced central banks to take unprecedented steps to help rescue the global economy, thrusting them into uncharted territory they are still navigating.

    Acting as firefighters-in-chief, central banks pushed the boundaries of their mandates by deploying a range of unusual tools that have, for better or worse, become the new normal.

    "We underestimated the crucial role they would have to play in case of serious financial instability," said Eric Dor, director of economic studies at France's IESEG management school.

    But after years of ultra-low interest rates and floods of cheap money, central bankers around the world are grappling with the next hurdle: how to ease out of crisis mode without jeopardising the recovery.

    "This is an extremely big challenge," said ING Diba bank analyst Carsten Brzeski.

    The delicate balancing act has been complicated by "uncertainties" on the horizon, he added, as US President Donald Trump's trade rows and growing geopolitical risks shade the economic outlook.

    And although the US Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of England and Bank of Japan all sprung into action together in 2008, the road back to monetary policy normalisation is one each must walk on their own.

    Central banks are generally tasked with lowering or raising interest rates to achieve price stability.

    Outside the box

    But when access to credit dried up after the Lehman collapse, they had to think outside the box.

    First, they slashed interest rates to record-low and even negative levels.

    Next, they flooded the financial system with cash.

    They offered cheap loans to banks and began massively buying up government and corporate bonds in a stimulus scheme known as "quantitative easing" (QE), hoping to encourage lending and stimulate spending.

    Critics complain that the drastic measures have hurt savers and distorted bond markets, but supporters say they underpinned the global return to growth.

    "Central banks can take a big chunk of credit for mastering the crisis," said Brzeski. "Even if it was a lot of learning by doing."

    One memorable misstep, he said, was the ECB's ill-advised rate rises in 2011 despite a festering eurozone debt crisis.

    But the Frankfurt institution quickly corrected course and its chief Mario Draghi later famously promised the ECB would do "whatever it takes to preserve the euro".

    Key question

    With the interventionist genie out of the bottle, analysts say there's no going back for central banks.

    Draghi himself acknowledged in June that even as the bank readies to wind down its bond purchases in December, QE has become a "normal instrument" in the ECB "toolbox", ready to be picked up again when necessary.

    The key question for central banks now is when, and how exactly, to unwind their extraordinary stimulus to ensure they have ammunition left when the next downturn hits, without spooking the markets today.

    Many governments, companies and investors have come to rely on the central banks' easy money to service their debts - and any abrupt U-turn could plant the seeds for a fresh crisis.

    Inflation

    Another headache is that despite robust growth and strong labour markets, inflation remains puzzlingly low in advanced economies.

    IESEG's Dor likened central banks' efforts to hit an inflation target of around to 2% to "Don Quixote fighting windmills", echoing observers who say factors outside the banks' control, like digitalisation, are to blame.

    The ECB has nevertheless said it is confident inflation is headed in the right direction as eurozone wages creep up, bolstering its decision to scale back QE -- while signalling that interest rates won't rise until well into 2019.

    But if the ECB does eventually meet its inflation goal, Berenberg economist Holger Schmieding said it will mainly be because of stimulus "far beyond" anything seen before, and it's unclear what will happen once the medicine is withdrawn.

    Commerzbank analyst Joerg Kraemer warned that although banks had been forced by regulators to become more resilient since 2008, the risk of new bubbles was real.

    "Both public and private debt levels in the eurozone remain high," he said, fuelled by the ECB's easy access to credit.

    Rates

    To date only the Fed has ended QE and started steadily raising rates, leading the way in monetary tightening - despite some grumbling from Trump.

    In England, the BoE recently lifted rates for only the second time since the crisis. But its QE scheme remains in place as Brexit worries loom.

    Treading equally cautiously, the BoJ has held rates steady and made only minor tweaks to its asset purchasing programme.

    "The Fed wants to use the good economic times to normalise monetary policy," Brzeski summed up.

    Other central banks, he said, "are sceptical that these are good times". – Nampa/AFP

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  • 09/05/18--15:00: Lutombi reappointed at RA
  • Lutombi reappointed at RALutombi reappointed at RA The Roads Authority (RA) board yesterday announced the reappointment of CEO Conrad Lutombi for another five years.

    His reappointment is effective from 1 October.

    Board chairperson, Brian Katjaerua, described Lutombi as an accomplished corporate leader.

    “Lutombi symbolises what it means to be a modern business leader, and strives to achieve greater things at all times. Under his stewardship, the RA achieved and by far exceeded the organisational targets and objectives as set out in the strategic scorecard.”

    Katjaerua said it was under the current impeccable and stable leadership of Lutombi that the national road network has been developed to its current excellent state, and is rated as the best on the African continent.

    “The board is confident that Lutombi will continue to carry the RA brand with great responsibility and shrewd leadership and steer the organisation towards realising our mandate, which is to manage Namibia's national road network with a view to achieving a safe and efficient road sector.”

    Katjaerua further elaborated on Lutombi's academic qualifications and credentials, saying these include a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Steinbeis University in Berlin and a Master of Science Degree in Leadership and Change Management from Leeds University in the United Kingdom. He also has a high-performance leadership programme certificate from the University of Stellenbosch, an undergraduate degree LLB degree from the University of South Africa and a BTech degree in policing from the Tshwane University of Technology.

    He further holds a national diploma in police science from Nust and an advanced international diploma in road safety management from the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute.

    In addition, Lutombi is also the winner of the Country, Regional and Titans Building Nations Awards in the agencies and regulatory authorities sector category for Namibia.

    He served as the president of the Association of Southern African National Road Agencies for two consecutive terms.

    Katjaerua congratulated Lutombi on the renewal of his employment contract and wished him the best.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Global finance 'as vulnerable' as in 2008: Ex-ECB chiefGlobal finance 'as vulnerable' as in 2008: Ex-ECB chief The growth in debt, especially private debt, in advanced countries has slowed, but this slowdown has been offset by an acceleration of emerging country debt. - Jean-Claude Trichet, Ex-Chief: ECB Paris - Too much debt has made the world's financial system as vulnerable as it was 10 years ago, Europe's top central banker during the 2008 global meltdown has warned as he looks back on the crisis.

    "There is now agreement that the excessive debt level in advanced economies was a key factor in the triggering of the global financial crisis in 2007 and 2008," Jean-Claude Trichet, who ran the European Central Bank between 2003 and 2011, told AFP in an interview.

    "The growth in debt, especially private debt, in advanced countries has slowed, but this slowdown has been offset by an acceleration of emerging country debt," said Trichet, a Frenchman who ran his country's central bank, the Banque de France, before taking the helm at the ECB.

    "This makes the entire global financial system at least as vulnerable as it was in 2008, if not more so."

    Trichet was only the second president at the ECB, which was barely a decade old when US bank Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008, a date widely seen as the trigger of the global crisis.

    Witness

    But Trichet said the bank had detected big trouble much earlier.

    "I witnessed the real start of the financial crisis that was about to sweep the world in the morning of August 9, 2007, when we were confronted with a complete interruption of the eurozone money market," he remembered.

    After claiming its first bankruptcies in the US in the summer of 2007, the budding crisis quickly made world stock exchanges wobble too.

    The contagion reached Europe when German bank IKB issued a profit warning, prompting the German government to extend it a lifeline of more than three billion euro (US$3.5 billion).

    Then, on August 9, French banking giant BNP Paribas froze three of its US funds specialising in securitised mortgages whose value plunged by 400 million euro within a few days.

    Panic gripped financial institutions, causing the money market, where banks lend each other short-term liquidity, to suddenly dry up.

    "This had been unheard of since World War II," Trichet said. "There was none of the usual business, no transactions between banks, no market interest rates," said Trichet.

    Response

    Trichet and the ECB responded by bringing on heavy monetary artillery.

    "I decided with my colleagues to provide all the liquidity that the banks were asking for, without limit," he said.

    In the end around 50 eurozone banks came looking for a total of 95 billion euro in liquidity - a sum exceeded in recent history only by the nearly 110 billion the ECB injected after the 9/11 attacks in the United States in 2001.

    Trichet was in his French summer house that day, far from the Frankfurt-based ECB, and "in constant electronic contact with the ECB and the council members. After two and a half hours we decided to give the banks the 95 billion".

    The move was a watershed because "it showed that the ECB was able to take extremely bold decisions very quickly".

    Views

    There were two competing views of what was going on, Trichet remembered.

    "There were those who thought that the subprime crisis was the harbinger of something big and dangerous to come, and those who thought that this was a simple market correction, quite healthy and without any systemic importance. I subscribed to the former view."

    True enough, the financial situation continued to worsen over the subsequent months, until the Lehman Brothers crash sparked the crisis proper.

    Lehman may have been the smallest investment bank on Wall Street, but "it was the detonator for the worst financial crisis since World War II", Trichet said.

    By the time Lehman started to crumble, Trichet said he and his central banker colleagues, including Fed chief Ben Bernanke, "were very much aware that we were looking at a completely systemic major global crisis".

    "We said that the Lehman's bankruptcy would have catastrophic consequences, but I realised that the US government was not going to save Lehman if the private sector failed to find a solution," he said.

    "It was my understanding that the American government at the time did not have the political leeway to intervene with public money. So I got ready for the catastrophe," Trichet said. – Nampa/AFP

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    Road-safety campaign bears fruitRoad-safety campaign bears fruit Nineteen men were arrested for drunk driving over the past long weekend.

    Statistics released by the Namibian police also show that 600 fines totalling almost N$900 000 were issued over the weekend.

    That was in addition to 1 687 summonses totalling more than N$1.5 million issued since the beginning of August as part of the B1 and B2 national road-safety campaign.

    Nampol spokesperson Chief Inspector Kaunapawa Shikwambi told Namibian Sun yesterday that between 26 August and 3 September, 8 637 drivers were screened for alcohol on Namibia's roads – 7 104 men and 1 533 women.

    The police issued 647 summonses amounting to N$827 150 over the Heroes' Day weekend.

    Twenty-four arrests were made, of which 19 were related to drunk driving, Shikwambi said.

    Two weeks ago Namibian Sun reported that a joint B1 and B2 road safety campaign, for which an additional 64 police officers were dispatched to strategic road locations, had resulted in 1 687 fines, valued at around N$1.5 million, between 1 August and 20 August.

    During that period, 48 arrests were made, of which 33 were for drunk driving.

    More than 9 600 drivers were screened for alcohol over those 20 days, including 2 100 taxi drivers. Ninety of them tested positive for alcohol, but not all were over the legal limit. Yesterday, Nampol said that since then, 8 637 drivers were screened, including 2 255 drivers of public vehicles, including local and long-distance taxis, of whom 15 tested positive for alcohol.

    A total of 519 drivers of government cars were screened, of whom three tested positive for alcohol.

    Nampol traffic officers have issued 41 suspension notices since 26 August, and a total of 53 courtesy notifications.

    Shikwambi said compared to the same period last year, the accident statistics for the Heroes' Day weekend showed a significant decrease in injuries and fatalities.

    Although the number of crashes increased from 54 last year to 55 this year, the number of injuries dropped from 108 last year to 79 this year.

    Last year, eight people died on the roads over the long weekend, while this year's fatalities dropped to six.



    Major effort

    The police and their partners involved in the N$3.5 million road-safety operation, which ends today, are confident that it made a substantial dent in traffic violations and accidents.

    In addition to 64 Nampol traffic officers, nearly a dozen officers from local authorities and five from the Roads Authority (RA) were deployed between Noordoewer and Oshikango on the B1 road, and from Okahandja to Walvis Bay on the B2, since 1 August.

    Led by Nampol, the joint task force includes the NRSC, the MVA Fund, the Roads Authority, the Private Sector Road Safety Forum, municipal traffic departments in Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Henties Bay, Keetmanshoop and Otjiwarongo, and the works and transport ministry.

    The campaign not only focused on catching traffic offenders, but also on education.

    With an average 700 deaths each year, Namibia's roads are among the top 10 most dangerous in the world.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Chinese offer airport billionsChinese offer airport billions The Chinese government is said to have made a tempting offer to finance the upgrading of the Hosea Kutako International Airport, which will cost N$5 billion and upwards.

    The offer, according to NBC, was made at the just-ended Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in Beijing, where the state broadcaster was part of President Hage Geingob's delegation.

    According to NBC, the Chinese government is believed to have offered a 90% loan, repayable at 2% interest rate, while the rest of the money would come in the form of a grant to the Namibian government.

    Negotiations are said to be ongoing.

    Geingob recently welcomed Chinese investment, saying: “We are already reaping benefits from this elevated relationship in the form of the Hosea Kutako Airport road upgrading project. We appreciate the rapid progress of implementation regarding this project, including the five-year grace period offered by the People's Republic of China.”

    The Chinese government offered US$60 billion in financing to Africa, in the form of loans and grants, at the (FOCAC) summit.

    This forms part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, which focuses on improved links to parts of Asia, Europe and Africa, through the development of transport infrastructure.

    In December 2015, the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) awarded a N$6.8 billion tender for the upgrade and construction of the Hosea Kutako International Airport to Chinese state-owned firm, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group.

    Geingob subsequently cancelled the tender, citing irregularities in the manner it was awarded.

    The finance ministry had also said its awarding had been in contravention of the State Finance Act.

    This led to running court battles, which ended with a Supreme Court ruling delivered in March last year, which vindicated the head of state.

    Meanwhile, the World Bank recently advised the Namibian government to finance the planned airport upgrading on a public-private-partnership basis.

    “A public-private partnership would allow for the required development and enhancement of the Hosea Kutako International Airport's infrastructure, while generating budget efficiencies and fiscal relief for government to sustain the rest of the airport network,” a World Bank report said.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Another victory for SME Bank liquidatorsAnother victory for SME Bank liquidatorsMamepe claims innocence An amount of N$11.5 million held by a South African stockbroker has been frozen. The SME Bank's provisional liquidators had another victory when the South African High Court ruled that the institutional brokerage firm Peregrine Equity may not release any payments to companies investigated in connection with the demise of the bank.

    The Gauteng Division of the High Court on 3 September ordered that Peregrine may not pay out N$11.5 million to Mamepe Capital Investments and Mauwane Kotane from an account held in the name of a company called KE2 Ample.

    Former SME Bank CEO Tawanda Mumvuma, without board approval, invested N$196 million with Kotane's Mamepe Capital, which allegedly was divested to VBS Mutual Bank that is currently under curatorship over internal looting.

    This new victory follows hot on the heels of an earlier one towards the end of August, when the liquidators, David Bruni and Ian McLaren, were able to convince the Gauteng high court to freeze N$43.8 million held in Moody Blue and AMFS Solutions.

    Some of the SME Bank's money invested with Mamepe Capital had been funnelled to the Moody Blue and AMFS Solutions FNB banking accounts. While the liquidators are intensifying their search for the missing SME Bank millions, Kotane as the CEO of Mamepe Capital has been subpoenaed to appear before the commission of inquiry in Namibia chaired by Advocate Natasha Bassingthwaighte.

    This commission was instituted by Windhoek High Court to solicit information concerning the dealings and transactions between the SME Bank and a number of entities, including Mamepe Capital.



    The relationship

    In a document before the Gauteng High Court, Kotane set out his “relationship and transactions” between Mamepe Capital and the SME Bank between January 2014 and 31 May 2017.

    In this document Kotane said Mamepe Capital had been approached by the former SME Bank CEO, Tawanda Mumvuma, in 2013 to help the bank to “maximise returns” on its funds and to provide advisory services.

    Kotane said Mamepe Capital was chosen for its “flexible innovation” and “willingness to explore parallel alternatives”. He said Mamepe and the bank signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 7 January 2014, which specified that Mamepe would, among other things, raise capital, advise and provide asset management and private equity services to the bank.

    He said funds were transferred at the will of the SME Bank into 11 nominee accounts at different banks in South Africa, as it required that invested funds be held separately from Mamepe Capital funds.

    Kotane said these funds were classified as money market instruments from March 2014 until August 2016.

    He said by the end of July 2016 the portfolio balance was N$217 million, comprised of a capital balance of N$195 million and an interest balance of N$22 million. During August 2016 and September 2016 the SME Bank had apparently then invested, from the initial capital balance, an amount of N$175 million in the money market portfolio on commodities.

    Kotane said the N$175 million was invested in a consumable product, fertilisers, with the Lebanese company, Rawfert Offshore Sal, operating in Zimbabwe. This investment, Kotane said, was purely for trading purposes.

    He said contrary to allegations of fraud and theft, the funds were held and invested “safely” by Mamepe Capital and that the funds were received lawfully and legitimately in terms of a legally binding agreement signed on 7 January 2014 and the MoU signed on 27 July 2016.

    “It is both disingenuous and unfortunate to allege that the funds form part of an investigation of fraud, theft and the contraventions of the [Prevention of Organised Crime Act] (POCA) Act when in fact SME Bank is in possession of all the agreements as well as correspondence between ourselves and those in relation to this transaction,” Kotane said.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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  • 09/05/18--15:00: SME dreams become a reality
  • SME dreams become a realitySME dreams become a realityRosh Pinah businessman’s empire grows Over the past decade, Erastus Amenya, backed by SMEs Compete and the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust, has diversified his operations. When it comes to growth and diversification, I work alongside my staff, keep my eye on the ball at all times, and maintain a solid working relationship with my bank and suppliers. – Erastus Amenya, Owner: Ondje Trading Enterprises cc Staff Reporter - Erastus Amenya, based in Rosh Pinah, is one of numerous entrepreneurs who have routinely received business growth support from SMEs Compete and the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust.

    From humble beginnings as a vehicle washing business, Amenya has grown his firm, Ondje Trading Enterprises cc, into a significant employer in the southern mining town and today has a staff complement of 24 employees.

    Over the past decade, Amenya has diversified his operations. Not only does he clean vehicles and mining equipment, including conveyor belts on-site at Skorpion Zinc, but also operates a laundry, provides transport service, manages waste water, runs a car wash facility in the town’s centre, a fish shop in the high-density suburb of Tutungeni, as well as develops and manages property and even has a farming operation in the northern town of Omuthiya.

    “None of this would have been possible without the unwavering support of my banker. FNB Namibia has stood by me through thick and thin, and the routine mentorship and guidance I regularly receive from SMEs Compete has also helped.”

    Role model

    Asked about his management style, Amenya says he emulates his role model, Namibian business icon, Aupa Frans Indongo.

    “When it comes to growth and diversification, I work alongside my staff, keep my eye on the ball at all times, and maintain a solid working relationship with my bank and suppliers. When I don’t know, I ask, and I listen to the advice of SMEs Compete, as they just like FNB, are always there for me.”

    FNB Namibia established an SME Business Unit in 2005 to specifically service the needs of budding and novice entrepreneurs and added tailored products and services over the years to meet the needs of Namibia’s small and medium enterprise sector.

    The bank, through its FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust, further decided to support SME sector development programmes of many organisations, tertiary educational institutions, governmental departments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that nurture entrepreneurship and foster an enterprise culture among young Namibians.

    Support

    One of the organisations the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust works with is SMEs Compete.

    Founded by Claudine Mouton, Collin Gaochab Kakuva and Danny Meyer under a partnership arrangement, FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust and the German Development Service DED now part of GIZ, SMEs Compete provides an array of business growth support services to SMEs across Namibia. This includes mentorship, skills development, book-keeping and administration system development and implementation, status regularisation and compliance assistance, as well as marketing support among others.

    “Although other corporate firms and development institutions fund business and job creation programmes of SMEs Compete, the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust remains a key supporter,” says SMEs Compete’s Claudine Mouton. “What we like about working with FNB is the constant development and introduction of services that make it easier for SMEs to access funding to start or grow business,” adds Mouton, referring to the bank’s SME Special Fund.

    With FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust’s backing, SMEs Compete supports hundreds of other entrepreneurs like Erastus Amenya across the country. The number of SMEs helped with the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust over the past decade tops the 2 000 mark.

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    What is our national interest?What is our national interest? As Namibia continues to swim in a sea of misfortune, linked to job losses and its inability to stimulate the economy, in order to sustain and create employment, the question remains: What is our immediate national interest?



    This is a critical question, as we are wined and dined by China, who through its president, Xi Jinping, has put on the table a US$60 billion offer to assist the continent with development, with “no political strings attached”.



    It is national interest that should dictate our embracing of such funding.



    It is national interest that must be put ahead of party and other affiliations, as we face petrol hikes, commodity increases and families struggling to put food on tables.



    Our acceptance of such funding, from China and anywhere else, needs to be located in a consensus economic rejuvenation blueprint, which will take the nation forward in the short, medium and long-term and finally cut the apron strings of dependence.



    As African leaders bowed and curtsied in China over the past few days and released statements praising the global superpower, the core issue of national interest has not been addressed in subsequent media releases.



    In the case of Namibia, which has been the recipient of so-called soft loans over the years from China, which included infrastructure contracts being laden with foreign expertise and other workers, we need to ask ourselves how we want to proceed.



    This is not xenophobic in the least, but a critical appeal to properly negotiate the terms of future funding, where we can maximise opportunities for Namibian skills and its development.



    Also, it cannot be business as usual when procurement is conducted in terms of future contracts. We need to position a wide range of actors to benefit and not just the usual suspects that have grown fat from state coffers.



    The articulation of our immediate national interest and what is then required to stimulate economic growth in all sectors needs to be prioritised.

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  • 09/05/18--15:00: 5 193 fishing applications
  • 5 193 fishing applications5 193 fishing applicationsInterest growing exponentially Successful applicants for new fishing rights will be announced at the end of the year. The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources says a total of 5 190 fishing rights applications were received by 31 August for the 90 to 120 rights available.

    This is a massive growth of interest from previous applications, which ranged between 500 and 1 500.

    Minister Bernhardt Esau yesterday said the deadline for applications would not be extended any further. By yesterday the applications were being kept in a safe at the ministry and the envelopes had not yet been opened.

    In about two weeks the names of all the applicants for the 2018 fishing rights, broken down by species applied for, will be published in the print media and will also be available for perusal on the ministry's website.

    Applicants who have attestation certificates issued by the receiving officials will be able to confirm their applications.

    Esau said an evaluation committee comprised of experts would be announced soon. He said the evaluation would be done in accordance with the gazetted criteria, which are derived from the Marine Resources Act.

    “The checklist is clear and transparent,” Esau said, adding that the process would be very strict.

    “The policy objective is to give meaning to the government policy of inclusivity and particularly empowerment of previously disadvantaged Namibians, while ensuring that we protect Namibian jobs and investments in our marine fisheries sub-sector,” he said.

    The evaluation committee would consist of professionals who had been put through a vetting process, the minister said.

    Successful applicants will be notified by the end of 2018.

    Esau said because the fisheries resources are limited not all Namibians, and in particular not all applicants, could be issued with a fishing right because that would render the sector uneconomical.

    “[A] free-for-all will lead to an unsustainable scramble for this natural resource, leading to its collapse. I am committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of our fisheries stocks, which must only be harvested at sustainable levels as determined through periodic scientific studies for the sake of current and future generations of Namibians,” Esau said.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Calls to criminalise German skull collectorsCalls to criminalise German skull collectors Local historian Festus Muundjua has urged the German government to criminalise the private possession of human remains by that country's citizens.

    This follows the third repatriation of Namibian remains from Germany last Friday, which included a San girl's skeleton that was collected by colonialists between 1899 and 1900 from Grootfontein, as well as another San girl's skeleton and jawbone.

    The skull of Nama woman, aged between 28 and 40, taken from Shark Island in 1905, was also among the repatriated remains, which were mainly of women.

    Muundjua, who formed part of the delegation to Germany to collect the remains, said some German nationals revealed they had inherited skulls from their grandparents.

    “There was a German man who travelled all the way from Germany to Namibia and he asked what he could do with the skull that he found as a boy in his parents' home.

    “They never said what it was; he only thought it was just one of those souvenirs, like the kudu heads and so forth. And now that the universities and research institutions started returning them (the human remains), he understood what it was,” said Muundjua.

    He added a few of the German research institutions bought skulls from the widow of an army general, who inherited the remains in a private collection that formed part of her late husband's estate.

    “I think Germany must pass a law that prohibits private individuals from having human remains in their possession; so that if you are found in possession, you are punished for having committed a crime,” Muundjua said.





    Culture minister, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, said there is an agreement that private individuals can no longer hold onto human remains in Germany.

    She said the Namibian government will continue to repatriate the remains.

    “Yes, I have picked that there are still some human remains, but the general feeling, as we are engaging, is that nobody really wants to be in possession any longer of the human remains, artefacts and objects that belong to Africa, and in particular Namibia,” she said.

    Germany's minister of state, Michelle Müntefering, who accompanied the latest repatriated human remains to Namibia last Friday, declined to comment on whether German citizens were still privately in possession of skulls and artefacts.

    The official repatriation process to return the skulls collected largely from the Ovaherero and Nama, who died in German prisons during the 1904-08 genocide, started in 2011.

    Leader of the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama Council for Dialogue on the 1904 Genocide (ONCD 1904), Chief Manasse Christian Zeraeua, said this past Friday they want all the human remains and cultural artefacts returned to Namibia.



    Origin of the skulls

    During the genocide, tens of thousands of Ovaherero were forced into the Kalahari Desert, after their wells were poisoned and food supplies cut, following an extermination order issued by General Lothar von Trotha.

    Those who survived were rounded up and placed in concentration camps, and beaten or worked to death in poor horrible conditions.

    Half of the total Nama population were also killed or died in disease-ridden death camps, such the infamous Shark Island in Lüderitz.

    Historians suggest that by 1908, only 16 000 Nama remained.





    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 09/05/18--15:00: Choosing the lesser evil
  • Choosing the lesser evilChoosing the lesser evilUS$60bn China aid offer tips scales to the East While many detractors see China's US$60 billion infrastructure funding offer as a possible debt trap, local analysts say the Asian giant is acting no differently than former colonial powers in Africa. The tug-of-war between east and west for Africa's resources appears to have swung China's way after its president, Xi Jinping, put US$60 billion on the table to assist the continent with infrastructure development, with “no political strings attached”.

    The offer at the just-ended Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in Beijing, which was attended by 50 African leaders, including President Hage Geingob, has raised the spectre of a possible debt trap.

    Political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah felt Namibia did not have an investment agenda prior to the FOCAC summit.

    “China has the upper hand in the direction, justification and application of that partnership. They (African leaders) took nothing to the summit but their begging bowls. It is in this context that Namibia stands to gain nothing from the Chinese loans in the long-run. All we are gaining is debt that our government is incurring for future generations,” he said.

    In Sri Lanka a massive pile of debt led to that country handing over an entire port to China in December 2017, on a century-long lease.

    Now Djibouti, home to the United States' military main base in Africa, looks set to cede control of another key port to a Beijing-linked company.

    In both countries, China's Belt and Road Initiative, under which the U$$60 billion is also now being offered, led to massive debts that Sri Lanka and Djibouti could not repay.

    Other local analysts said while China is being referred to as a neo-colonialist, its actions are no different from what the European Union (EU) and the US have attempted to do in Africa.





    “Like China, other cooperation partners, such as the EU and her member states, provide a combination of grants in the form of budgetary support and preferential loans. The US, through Pepfar, has provided substantial financial resources for combating the spread of HIV and Aids,” said independent analyst Klaus Schade.

    He, however, did caution that policymakers would have to closely scrutinise loans from China.

    “China's loans are often conditional on the procurement of Chinese goods and services and such conditionality has to be factored in when calculating the total costs of a loan.”

    Schade felt that doing business with China would be beneficial, if there were investments in the manufacturing space, as opposed to transport, which was enjoying particular attention as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

    He added that for Namibia to benefit, local companies would need to be the drivers and beneficiaries of Chinese-funded projects.

    “Namibia needs investment in manufacturing industries that complement existing industries, diversified exports and/or substitute imports,” Schade said.

    Economics professor Roman Grynberg said China was no different than Africa's past colonial masters, but added it was using a different modus operandi.

    “It wants resources but it has a different modus operandi. It does not normally create colonies, but does send its people in very large numbers,” said Grynberg.

    Like Schade, he also cautioned the Namibian government to scrutinise any Chinese loans to avoid falling into a debt trap.

    “If leaders in Africa do not carefully scrutinise the projects proposed by China and Chinese firms, we will end up with many white elephants, and we will have to repay what was borrowed.

    “If those projects are poor and do not result in rapid growth, then we have only ourselves to blame for the debt trap we will eventually create,” Grynberg said.

    “The Chinese who come are not colonialists, but simply immigrants and behave as such. They are aggressive and seek out business opportunities and many of the honest opportunities are in Namibia's interests.”

    While at the summit, Geingob and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, jumped to the defence of the Chinese, dismissing the notion that they are neo-colonialists.

    “Where others saw Africa as a source of wealth, where others saw Africans as slaves, China saw commonalities and the potential for long-lasting friendship,” Geingob said, with Ramaphosa adding: “We are dealing with partners that are not arrogant or pushy, but who want to engage with us.”

    Meanwhile, it was reported that western countries are using aid to Africa as a smokescreen to hide the “sustained looting” of the continent as it loses nearly US$60 billion a year through tax evasion, climate change mitigation, and the flight of profits earned by foreign multinational companies.

    “The common understanding is that the UK 'helps' Africa through aid, but in reality this serves as a smokescreen for the billions taken out,” said Martin Drewry, director of Health Poverty Action, one of the NGOs behind a 2014 report.



    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Property market ‘not out of the woods yet’Property market ‘not out of the woods yet’Slight recovery in prices The average house price in June was just over N$1.2 million. Staff Reporter – Houses on average spent more than six months on the market in June and properties on average sell 9.3% below asking price.

    These are some of the stats included in the latest FNB Namibia Housing Index, released yesterday. Other facts include a deteriorating in the bank’s affordability index, which indicates that housing have become increasingly unaffordable.

    Although the average house price in Namibia was 0.8% higher than June last year, FNB Namibia analyst Josephat Nambashu prices remain under pressure. “House price contractions have been decelerating; although, at 0.8%, it is too soon to declare that the market is out of the woods, as the volumes continue to shift towards the lower price segments,” Nambashu says.

    “The continued drop in the economy and the increased cost of living on the back of fuel increases remains a stark reminder that consumer spending remains under pressure, which is consequently depressing domestic property prices,” he says.

    The single and biggest contributor to the slight increase in the overall average house price was the lower price segment, which registered annual growth of 7.1%. On the back of renewed demand in the lower price segment, volumes in this particular segment have increased by 24.5% over the past year, Nambashu says. “In contrast, large to luxury segments remained the weakest, as volumes continue to dry up. In the last five months, only three transactions registered in the luxury segment.”

    Overall volumes ticked up by 17.4% on an annual basis, driven primarily by the lower price segment, and to a lesser extent, the middle price segment.

    Central Namibia

    When looking at the central property prices in June, house prices rose by 0.3% year on year, as property prices in the upper price segments contracted by 6.6%. However, in the lower and more affordable segments, prices increased by 8.3% over the same period, at a time when this segment has seen 5.6% increase in volumes.

    In the capital, property price growth decelerated further to 2.0%. Properties in this market are reported spending 27 weeks on the market whilst the investment market (buy-to-let) has also slowed, Nambashu says.

    The regional volume index picked up by 8.8%, with nearly all transactions falling into the low to middle price segments. The average house price in the region now stands at N$1.496 million.

    Coast

    House price growth at the coast remained negative, at -2.6% for the whole coastal region.

    In Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, house prices fell by 12.8% and 18.7% respectively, while Henties Bay bucked the trend with 6.1% house price growth.

    Nambashu says price pressures emanated from increased housing supply, after transaction volumes surged by 67% annually. “Low income properties emanating from the mass housing programme and the aggressive land delivery, continued to push coastal property prices down, at a time when property prices are seasonally strong.”

    North

    So far in 2018 house prices in the northern market have kept their upward trend, albeit at a slower pace, reflective of the prevailing softness in the market, Nambashu says.

    In June, house prices increased by 5.3% year on year. While property prices were still on the increase in Ongwediva (+12.8%), Grootfontein (+10.5%), Otjiwarongo (+8.7%) and Outapi (+7.2%), house prices fell in Eenhana (-35.5%) and Tsumeb (-26.5%), while stagnating in Oshakati (-0.2%) and Ondangwa (-0.1%). Volumes shot up by 6.3% over the year, more concentrated in Eenhana, Oshakati and Ondangwa, where property prices were either under pressure or stagnant.

    South

    Prices in southern Namibia were up 2.2% year on year while volumes shot up by as much as 60%.

    “This has meant that the number of properties traded in June has increased to nine transactions, and therefore caution must be taken when interpreting these figures, though market dynamics are very much identical to those in the northern region,” Nambashu says.

    Land delivery

    Land delivery accelerated by 43% on average in the first half of the year, surpassing the 33% average for 2017, he says.

    The additional stands were mainly concentrated in the coastal and northern areas were larger stands of about 451m² and 791m² were recorded. Walvis Bay and Swakopmund delivered the most land during June, while land delivery in the central parts of the country edged up by 8% year on year.

    “This has resulted in over 700 new stands delivered over the first six months of the year, which is a significant improvement over last year’s figure. Additionally, municipal plans approved have also ticked up, which is further leading indicator that housing volumes should increase even further,” Nambashu says.

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    Reward for Cheryl's killer upped to N$100kReward for Cheryl's killer upped to N$100k The reward for information on the murder of nine-year-old Cheryl Avihe Ujaha has been increased to N$100 000.
    The Namibian police initially offered a cash reward of N$30 000 for anyone who can provide information that will lead to the successful arrest and prosecution of the killer of Ujaha, whose mutilated body was found near the Staanvas circle in Khomasdal recently.
    Police chief Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga announced yesterday that the Ohlthaver and List (O&L) Group has pledged a significant amount of money to increase the reward to N$100 000, including funding for the establishment of a Namibian Police Force Children’s Protection Fund.
    The fund will particularly cover the expenses of certain activities in this particular case and future investigations. The National Special Risk Insurance Association also pledged N$10 000 to the fund.
    The Fund is established by the police and O&L will jointly manage it along with the police.
    “After this investigation the fund will continue to exist to assist the police with similar investigations,” said Ndeitunga.
    He re-iterated that the police will protect the identity of anyone who comes forward with helpful information.
    Those with information are requested to contact the Khomas regional crime investigations coordinator Deputy Commissioner Abner Agas at 081 1242 649 or report to the nearest police station.
    ELLANIE SMIT




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  • 09/06/18--05:07: LPM registers with ECN
  • LPM registers with ECNLPM registers with ECN The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) this morning handed in its application to the Election Commission of Namibia (ECN) to be registered as a political party. The new director of the ECN, Theo Muyoro, said the application will considered by the commission within the next two to three weeks and be put through a technical evaluation process. This includes the application being subjected to objections from the public. Pictured is Ivan Skrywer (in red shirt), the LPM national coordinator for logistics and events, handing over the application to ECN director, Theo Muyoro.
    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Another 'bleak' profit year for FirstRand NamibiaAnother 'bleak' profit year for FirstRand Namibia FirstRand Namibia, previously known as FNB Namibia Holdings, made a profit of about N$1.06 billion for the year ended June 2018. This is some N$52 million or 4.7% less than the previous year.
    FirstRand Namibia’s financial results, released on the Namibian Stock Exchange today, show basic earnings per share (EPS) declining by nearly 5% to 398.1c. Headline earnings per share (HEPS) came in at 397.9c, 4.4% down on its 2017 book-year.
    FirstRand Namibia declared a dividend of 204c per ordinary share for 2018, the same as in 2017.

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    Inkumbi reappointed as DBN CEOInkumbi reappointed as DBN CEO The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) board has reappointed Martin Inkumbi as the bank’s CEO for another five years.
    Inkumbi has headed DBN since 2013 and took over from founding CEO, David Nuyoma.
    Under Inkumbi, the bank’s balance sheet has grown from N$2.3 billion, with loans and advances of N$1.7 billion at the end of 2013, to N$8.8 billion with loans and advances of N$7.7 billion at 31 March 2018.
    The bank’s core business is to advance development by lending to larger enterprises, SMEs and infrastructure developers.
    Inkumbi has described his first five-year tenure as a period of ongoing evolution and organisational development.
    He holds a bachelor of commerce degree, with majors in economics, management and finance, from the University of Cape Town and a master of science degree in financial economics from the University of London.
    His career in finance began with a position as a researcher in banking statistics at the Bank of Namibia. After being promoted to financial analyst, he joined FNB Namibia as a corporate banking manager. In 2006 he joined DBN in the lending department, and worked his way up through the ranks.
    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 09/10/18--15:00: Mapimpi blow for Boks
  • Mapimpi blow for BoksMapimpi blow for BoksInjured winger to miss All Blacks clash Bok winger Makazole Mapimpi has been ruled out of Saturday's Rugby Championship clash with world champions, New Zealand. The Springbok flyer Makazole Mapimpi, who scored his side's second try in their 23-18 loss to Australia in Brisbane, will miss his side's clash against the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday, after sustaining a knee injury.

    Mapimpi had to leave the field before halftime this past Saturday and was replaced by debutant Cheslin Kolbe. The Boks stuttered and floundered in the second half.

    The Boks have not called up a replacement, with coach Rassie Erasmus hinting he may play one of his centres on the wing against the All Blacks, due to Kolbe's lack of international experience.

    “We have Cheslin Kolbe with us, who played a full second half this past Saturday on the wing, but we have some other options as well, such as (centres) Jesse Kriel and even Lukhanyo Am, who has played some rugby out on the wing,” Erasmus told reporters on Monday.

    “We will try and pick the most experienced side for this match, with the least amount of changes.”

    Mapimpi is the only injury concern for the squad, as the Boks try to avoid a third defeat in a row in this year's southern hemisphere championship, after having already lost away in Argentina and Australia. They have lost their previous eight tests in New Zealand and last tasted victory in 2009.

    NAMPA/REUTERS

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