By Ericah B. Shafudah (Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary)
Allow me space in your newspaper to respond to allegations and accusations of misconduct being made, based on the letter dated 9 May, which is circulating in the media and social networks. I am compelled to respond and set the record straight, as I herein do.
I consider such allegations and accusations as tarnishing my name and reputation, which I continue to preserve.
That letter ( purportedly written by Secretary to Cabinet, George Simataa) states, and I quote: “ I have concluded that your conduct in the said project, in particular your failure to attend the meetings of the Technical Committee, of which you were an integral member, has contributed to the development of a situation detrimental and prejudicial to Government.”
The letter further states that: “… whereas you have always maintained the correct position, namely that the tender currency in the National Oil Storage Facility project was in Namibian dollars and all inclusive and that Government did not assume any risk for currency fluctuations in the project, your failure to attend the Technical Committee meetings, has enabled others to create the impression that Government had in fact assumed the risk for currency fluctuations.”
The content of the letter has led to various allegations and accusations levelled against me in the public, in relation to the National Oil Storage Facility Project. Therefore, in view of those unfounded allegations, I want to put on record the following:
I am the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, and by virtue of the position, I became a member of the Technical Committee established to deal with the said project.
Technical committee meetings
I want to place on record that I have attended Technical Committee meetings to which I have been invited. I also have it on record that where I did not attend, an apology was extended.
Regarding the disputed issue of currency fluctuations on the tender, I have maintained the position that the tender was awarded in Namibian dollars. I presented this position to the Technical Committee in writing. I have also verbally and in writing stated this position on various occasions to the relevant authorities. This consistent position that I have always maintained has also been acknowledged as legally correct in the purported ‘Final Written Warning’ letter that is circulating in the media and social networks.
It is common logic that in a democratic society any person accused of any offence is considered innocent until proven guilty through a court of law or a disciplinary process duly conducted. However, as per the letter circulating in the media and social networks, I have been found guilty apparently through an investigation, of which the findings have not been availed to me. Further, I was not given a chance to be heard, as provided for in the Namibian Constitution.
In summary, I have given the correct advice on the matter to the Technical Committee and to relevant authorities. I am also prepared to provide evidence to any platform or person(s) with a mandate to get such evidence. To this end, I reject any opinion/ insinuation from any quarter that describes me as an official who is incompetent and was negligent in the performance of duties as a Permanent Secretary of Finance. On the contrary, I wish to categorically state that my input on the deliberations regarding the National Oil Storage Facility tender was in fact endorsed as legally correct. I must add that at all material times I have acted in the best interests of the State and shall continue to do so without any fear or favour.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015