… as she now rakes in N$88 000 per month
By Confidente Reporter
CONTROVERSY reigns in the Directorate of Civil Aviation under the works ministry as Angeline Simana who reportedly resigned as a director in the public service has been re-hired on contract in the same position, this time with double her previous salary, on assessment and recommendation of UK based consultants.
Simana who returned to the position disguised as a ‘knowledge management expert’ is alleged to be working closely with her assessors, the International Civil Association Organisation (ICAO) experts, that she reportedly worked with during her directorship tenure to help formulate the directorate’s regulations amongst others.
Simana who earned at least N$40 000 as a director before she quit in 2014, now earns a basic salary of N$73 500, motor allowances of up to N$9 000 and housing allowances stretching over N$6 000. The total package now flows over N$88 000 monthly. She is also on the verge of becoming the CEO of the directorate when it attains parastatal status on November 1.
“Simana resigned from her position as director only to return in the same position under the guise of a knowledge management expert but this time with an adjusted remuneration. This happened based on assessment of ICAO experts, experts that worked on the project under her leadership,” sources close to the directorate said.
The sources told Confidente that Simana, who was wanted out by air traffic controllers earlier this year for mismanagement and was being investigated by the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC), was responsible for the ICAO project primed for a single year but has now stretched to over eight years with Government reportedly paying in excess of N$100 000 monthly each to the more than 6 ICAO experts working on the project.
Simana’s re-appointment also comes in the wake of her peers labelling her as a professional who lacks appropriate qualifications and adequate experience as an aviation regulator and administrator in a memorandum dated April 25, 2016.
In addition, the controllers accused Simana and her deputy Tobias Gunzel of having naively and ignorantly failed to acquaint themselves with the basic understanding of the provision of air traffic service, as well as the human factor component in the administration of air traffic navigations “They have collectively failed to fulfil one of their primary tasks of leading, motivating and guiding the staff into a dynamic team to maximise productivity and responsibility of the air traffic profession,” the memorandum charged.
Sources further told this publication that former permanent secretary in the works ministry, Peter Mwatile, had earlier rejected the move to re-hire her as a consultant but the incumbent PS Willem Goeiemann affirmed and effected the appointment. Goeiemann declined to comment when approached on Tuesday.
Goeiemann, the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) and Simana as the head of the directorate of Civil Aviation were also being investigated by the ACC for the circumstances under which British firm Westminster Aviation Security Services was awarded a 25-year contract to service airport security systems in Namibia. At that time sources from the safety ministry said that Minister Charles Namoloh was concerned since Westminster Aviation Security Services was not vetted nor was it accorded the appropriate security clearance by Government. ACC spokesperson Albertus Mbanga at the time also attested that the commission was looking into the seemingly premature and suspicious discussions and alleged entering into a memorandum of understanding between the Airports Company and Westminster Group PLC, whilst such a tender had not yet been advertised in Namibia.
Notably, Gary Cooper of Westminster Aviation who appears to be visible in the working circle regarding these tender was also one of the ICAO experts under Simana’s leadership and carried out the survey report on the controversial NAC security tender. In another twist, Cooper is a business partner with British based aviation expert Tim Bull through their company Air Operator Solution (AOS) – the company that has a tender to formulate the directorate’s regulations. Bull was also an ICAO expert but reportedly resigned half way through his contract to land a higher paying consultancy role where he consults from his British base. Westminster was also reported in a local daily to have offered to pay university fees for Simana’s son at the time when Simana, a key State official, was vetting this company for the tender. Simana’s son, Yaone Simana, applied to study at the University of Leicester in 2014.
Westminster at the time admitted to The Namibian that they offered to pay for Simana’s son, but claimed their effort was a temporary guarantee and not genuine. Simana, however, denied that Westminster paid for her son’s studies. Westminster Group’s chief executive Peter Fowler had written a letter to the University of Leicester titled ‘Yaone Simana’s sponsorship’, offering to fully guarantee Simana’s university fees.
The sources also challenged government to appoint a committee to investigate the directorate’s affairs, especially the ICAO project which they said has been deliberately prolonged. “We fail to understand how after eight years there are hardly results to show that they have been working genuinely,” the sources concluded.
In her defense, Simana said that her current post is a regularised appointment. “The previous civil aviation Act of 1962 stated that the minister could appoint a director subject to the laws of the public service Act. In 1998 that clause was removed which means that the director does not have to be a civil servant but an independent person. The minister did right in approaching ICAO as an international body that regulates civil aviation to review my position,” Simana said referring further questions to officials in her office.
The officials further explained that because Simana ceased being a civil servant as per the new Act, she had to be appointed independently with her remuneration at the discretion of the minister.
“She had to resign otherwise it remained wrong. Her position is a statutory function dictated by the law. We are now where we should have been many years ago. The project has delivered and right now according to ICAO standards which is measured at a minimum of 60 percent, we are below that,” the officials said. On her remuneration, the officials said that it had to be changed based on her job description having taken into consideration what her counterparts in the region get. “The thing of her being a knowledge management expert is a matter of name calling. But based on what her peers in the region are paid, the minister made his decision and we still believe that she is getting far less.” As for the tender given to AOS, the officials said that it is part of the ICAO project. AOS according to them was preferred because they are familiar with the country’s aviation industry.
Meanwhile, new board members were appointed in anticipation of the directorate becoming a fully fledged parastatal namely Kosmas Egumbo (chairperson), Reinhardt Gartner, Matildah Kahimbi Jankie and Emma Katema-Gaomas.
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