By Confidente Reporter
AS the new Parliament saga rages on, Confidente has established that N$24 million was allegedly paid last year to a consultancy company working on the project without approval from the Ministry of Works and Transport management.
Confidente has it on good authority that the payment was only signed off by a Deputy Director without the approval of other senior management.
Current Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Willem Goeiemann, Tuesday, distanced himself from the pay-out saying it was done before he joined the ministry.
“I was not here when this happened so I can’t comment on the matter. The Minister also made a statement last week in Parliament about the new Parliament and his statement is final on the matter.”Former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works Peter Mwatile, who was replaced by Goeiemann also refused to comment on the matter saying when the payment was made he had already been reshuffled from the ministry. Confidente can also reveal that severe power struggles in the ministry are threatening to tear it apart. According to documents, at hand at the centre of the power struggle is Goeiemann who stands accused of sidelining the acting Deputy Director of Capital Project Management, Paulina Kalo in favour of Deputy Director of Architectural Services, Mwitumwa Mungandi a Zambian national.
Goeiemann is also being accused of making unilateral decisions without consulting with his colleagues from management.
A letter dated April 5 2016, addressed to now retired Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ben Booysen written by Goeiemann it informs him (Booysen) of Goeiemann’s decision to make changes on how the ministry conducts its business. In the letter Goeiemann allegedly appears to be sidelining Kalo as he assigns almost all her duties to Mungandi.
“I have been in the office as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works and Transport for almost one year now. During this period I have observed that due to numerous bureaucratic procedures and structures, efficiency in the delivery of services to the public by various directorates has been negatively affected.
“After consultations with various stakeholders both internal and external I have decided to institute changes in the administration of capital projects that will improve efficiency and reduce on bureaucracy. 1. The zone system which was introduced a few years ago has proved to be cumbersome and inefficient and I have decided to abolish it with immediate effect. 2. All affected technical and professional staff members currently allocated to zones will revert to direct supervision by supervisors in the respective divisions.” Goeiemann further in the letter directs that the department of architectural services will be in charge of architectural technical and professional matters, design office and archives as well as project coordination and or management issues.
However this despite that there is already Kalo in charge of the Capital Project Management directorate.
Kalo hit back by rescinding Goeiemann’s directives in an email sent 10 days later to the ministry’s staff.
“Please be informed that the directive issued by the Permanent Secretary on April 5 2016 still needs to be discussed and finalised by the management of the Directorate Capital Project Management and Permanent Secretary. The current arrangement is as follows: 1. All project teams remain as they are. 2. The project coordinators of each discipline to report to their respective chiefs. 3. The chiefs to report to their respective divisional heads. 4. Design office project team to remain as they are. 5. Divisional to continue with the management of understudy,” Kalo wrote.
However, in another undated letter and ironically not on the Ministry’s letter head, Goeiemann hits back at Kalo arguing that he had made the directive after consulting extensively.
“I reiterate that before deciding to dissolve the zones I consulted widely within the ministry and outside.
“I reiterate that before deciding to dissolve the zones I consulted widely within the ministry and also with outside stakeholders including consultants and line ministries. My decision is therefore irreversible,” he wrote to Booysen.
The PS also adds further that the Deputy Director of Architectural Services, Mungandi is the Head of Projects openly disregarding Kalo.
“Capable professionals regardless of the discipline will be appointed as project coordinators for each OMAs by myself after they have been identified by your office in consultation with the Deputy Director of Architectural Services who is the Head of Projects…. In terms of progress or lack of progress on projects, Project Coordinators will be responsible and answerable to my office. This will be through the offices of the Deputy Director of Architectural Services, the Director of Capital Projects is vacant and the acting Deputy PS of Works in that order.”
In the letter Goeiemann also takes a swipe at the Ministry’s management housed on the seventh floor at its offices.
“From various sources and my own personal experience it is apparent that management on the 7th floor is defective and fractured. It is an indisputable fact that unless there is an effective and functioning management and leadership system in place the measures I have presented above that will foster change and will not bear fruit at all,” he wrote.
The ministry’s workers told Confidente that Goeiemann had become authoritarian in his directives and was openly favouring Mungandi over Kalo.
“Please note that the current Deputy Director for Architectural Services, Mwitumwa Mungandi a Zambian national is behind all this in a desperate effort to amass authority and power to ascend to the position of Director for the directorate of Capital Project Management. Currently, a Namibian registered professional engineer a woman is acting in the Director position since last year and Mungandi does not like her leading the directorate, he wants to be in charge. That’s why in these directives it’s constantly mentioning him as being head of everything and everyone must report to him.
“Note also that in the undated directive, the suggested chain of command skips and does not mention the Acting Director even though it mentions the Acting Deputy PS of Works, a deliberate omission to undermine the authority of the Acting Director,” disgruntled Ministry of Works employees told Confidente anonymously.
The Works staff also took a swipe at Goeiemann’s directives they allege are illegal.
“According to the existing structure, operational level people don’t report directly to the PS, they report to their divisional heads (Deputy Directors.) So in the absence of a new structure approved by the Public Service Commission, these directives are not only desperate and wrong – they are illegal. Operational level staff has to now report directly to an ever busy PS, being misled by Mungandi who wants to undermine the Acting Director so that he himself can become the preferred candidate to permanently fill the director post. Contrary to the claims in the directives that the PS consulted within the Ministry on the allegations being made, it is not true.
“Contrary to the directives, the existing approved structure gives power to the director as Head of all projects. For Mungandi to mislead the PS into making him as head of projects, bypassing the director is against public service provisions. Deputy directors like Mungandi are only responsible for their respective disciplines. Mungandi is responsible for architectural services only. The head of all projects is the director. Mungandi is not a director. Any changes in this chain of command can only be instituted by an approval from the PSC,” the sources told Confidente. Commenting on the allegations made against him, Goeiemann said as the accounting officer no one within the Ministry has approached him yet expressing disgruntlement with the way he runs the ministry.
“I am the accounting officer and nobody has ever approached me to express their dissatisfaction. When I joined the ministry I also had a problem with Mungandi because people think that if they make recommendations I should just sign them through. I have to go through every recommendation. I read them all through weekends … People must understand as the accounting officer I have to make changes and if people have issues that they are not happy about they should approach me,” he said.
Mungandi refused to comment on the matter.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015