THE Ministry of Public Enterprises has appointed an accounting firm to investigate the affairs of the national railway company TransNamib.
The ministry’s public relations officer, Jonathan Swartz, confirmed the decision.
“The ministry can confirm that the appointed auditing company is indeed Ernst &Young,” Swartz said last week.
He said the company will be paid N$650 000 for the investigation, which started on 1 August and is set to be completed on 30 October.
This comes nine months after minister of public enterprises Leon Jooste wrote to the parastatal’s board chairperson, Sigrid Tjijorokisa, on 24 November 2020, directing her to institute an independent investigation.
One of the issues the investigation will focus on is the impact of the implementation of block train operations, as well as an assessment of subsidiary agreements, and whether these are in the best interests of TransNamib.
Another deal under investigation is the southern manganese route and the tradeport agreement.
When asked what his views were on the investigations, TransNamib chief executive officer Johny Smith said he has nothing to hide.
“Because since day one at TransNamib, I have been busy resolving historical issues and finding ways to grow and develop the company in a very difficult environment.”
Smith said there are “forces” trying to tarnish his name.
“Absolutely. They know who they are.”
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TransNamib has for years faced allegations of chronic corruption.
Chief executive officers often do not last more than a term before they are fired.
Jooste wants investigations on the parastatal’s commercial agreements and their profitability, and on agreements and litigation impacting the parastatal and its financial performance.
Jooste dismissed allegations that the investigation was targeting Smith.
“We have appointed consultants to investigate a number of issues at TransNamib, but we are not investigating the chief executive officer,” Jooste said last week.
He said he hopes the investigation will prove the allegations false.
“Certain allegations have reached me that, if true, could have a negative effect on the commercial viability of the company. I can unfortunately not ignore these, and I hope the investigation proves these allegations are false,” Jooste said.