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Sexual misconduct rocks Pupkewitz Group

Sexual misconduct rocks Pupkewitz Group

Staff Reporter

DOUGIE Truter, the South African Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of Namibia’s largest companies and winner of the 2018 Deloitte Best Company to Work For, Pupkewitz Group Holdings, has been placed on precautionary suspension for alleged misconduct relating to sexual harassment at the workplace, as well as numerous sexual relationships with his subordinates.

His suspension, which the company has kept a close lid on since it happened two weeks ago, was this morning finally confirmed by the Group following numerous attempts by Informanté to get confirmation.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Dougie Truter, CEO of the Pupkewitz Group of Companies. Photo: Pupkewitz Holdings

“We can confirm that the CEO of Pupkewitz Holdings, Dougie Truter, has been placed on precautionary suspension,” Rosemary Shippiki, the spokesperson and Group Marketing Executive of Pupkewitz Holdings wrote in a media release.

“A number of conduct issues have been brought to the attention of the Board, which the Company is duty bound to investigate. The Board came to the conclusion that the fairest course would be to place Mr. Truter on precautionary suspension whilst an investigation is underway. No further information can be shared on the nature of the issues under investigation until due process has been concluded,” continues Shippiki.

Shippiki added that for the duration of the precautionary suspension of Truter, the leadership at Group level will be the executive committee, along with the Board, leading the business.

Truter has been at the helm of the Pupkewitz Group of Companies since 1 August 2015 when he was handpicked as the group’s CEO following two years of intensive interviews for the top spot.

Informanté understands that numerous women who work directly under Truter have levelled against the CEO damning allegations that have the potential of damaging the company’s image and reputation, and as such, the company is keeping a veil of secrecy on the details of his misconduct.

In fact, so sensitive is the matter, that when staff members were this week informed by the Group of Truter’s suspension for misconduct, the internal communication was encrypted to ensure that employees cannot capture nor share it.

Informanté understands that company lawyers are currently taking statements from his alleged victims, while a psychologist has also been roped in to offer counselling.

“Text messages between Dougie and some of his staff members of a sexual nature were submitted to company lawyers investigating the matter. The women who claimed they had a sexual relationship with Dougie all spoke of a specific room at a hotel in town where the married Dougie would take them individually to have affairs. We are talking about a handful of women,” said a well-placed source working at the Group.

There are also allegations that the Group might have known of Truter’s sexual misconduct at the workplace as far back as last year, but that the complaints were swept under the rug, forcing some women who felt they would be victimised after reporting him to Human Resources, to resign and find employment elsewhere.

“Dougie is not someone you want as your enemy, so of course a lot of women who experienced sexual harassment kept quiet because they didn’t want to jeopardise their employment at the company. It is only now that a few women have come forward, that the Group is encouraging other women who might have experienced something similar to also give their statements to internal investigators on the matter,” added the source.

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