THE suspended Executive Director (ED) of the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (NIPAM), Maria Nangolo, spoke out against her recent suspension from the institute, saying that she cannot be solely blamed for the administrative hiccups that led to her suspension.
In addition to this, the suspended ED accused the Governance Council (GC) of NIPAM, which is chaired by Dr George Simataa, of favouritism and interfering in the awarding of an auditing tender.
On Friday, NIPAM’s GC issued a press statement, saying that a decision was made to suspend Nangolo to facilitate an independent and transparent investigation into allegations related to her conduct as the ED. The institute’s GC further said that Sankwasa Mubita will be the Acting Executive Director pending the outcomes of the envisaged disciplinary inquiry.
In a letter penned to Simataa, Nangolo gave her version of events on the allegations levelled by the governing council.
With regards to allegations of failing to conclude the 2021/22 internal audit in time, Nangolo said that she is once again being held answerable to this matter, while evidence was provided to governance bodies to intervene and aid her office in resolving the hurdles and frustrations faced in completing the said audit.
“As such, the practice by GC and its committees, regarding referring this matter to your esteemed office, despite having been well informed of the circumstances regarding it, speaks not only to the malicious intent of ARM/REMCO and GC, tantamount to double jeopardy, ‘the prosecution of a person twice for the same offence’. As it relates to this allegation, the Director of Finance took accountability for how he handled the matter, operationally including the lack of communication, lack of information sharing at EXCO and with the ED’s office on Internal audit scope of works and draft reports by EY,” Nangolo said.
She added that as such, the failure to conclude the internal audit on time for 2021/2022 was not due to any fault on her part, but due to the Director of Finance’s inability to execute his functions diligently, namely those bestowed upon him in terms of section 29 of the NIPAM Act.
With regard to failing to appoint an internal auditor for the period 2022/2023, Nangolo said that she wrote a letter to request assistance from the Ministry of Finance since NIPAM did not have the budgetary provisions for a Forensic Audit to enable the ED to procure such services.
“It’s the responsibility if the governing council to ensure that NIPAM has adequate funding to meet its operational obligations,” Nangolo fired back.
She added that Tenders no NCS/RFQ/NPM -12/2022, together with NCS/RFQ/NPM-008/2022 were initiated due to the fact that both procurement processes commenced to address the need for the provision of internal audit services.
This tender process began from 1 to 30 June 2022, but the first tender was cancelled due to the contravention of a number of Public Procurement Regulations, which included the fact that the financial proposal by the bidder EY amounted to N$1 701 942.35, while the contract price amounts to N$1 335 688.00.
With regards to the second tender for the provision of internal audit services, (Tender no.: NCS/RFQ/NPM-12/2022), the bidding price offered by said bidder, EY, of N$1 317 993.09 was suspiciously close to the estimated amount (N$ 1 335 688.00) budgeted by NIPAM for the provision of said service.
Nangolo added that the procurement process appears to have an element of price fixing.
She said that the notice of award and or cancellation of award for the bid, Provision of Internal Audit Services in terms of Tender no.: NCS/RFQ/NPM-12/2022, is therefore on hold, pending an audit by Ministry of Finance’s Public Procurement Unit (PMU).
“Various instructions and threats were levelled against me to award the tender to EY. At one instance, the Deputy Chair ARM, in the presence of a bidder, coerced with regard to awarding the tender to EY, which constitutes a violation of section 77 of the Procurement Act,” Nangolo said.