While National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia board chairperson Jennifer Comalie was set to appear before a magistrate over drug charges relating to drug possession, her deputy, Tim Ekandjo and his fellow board members were summoned by finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi to an urgent meeting.
New Era understands, at the meeting, Shiimi read them the riot act, saying the shenanigans at Namcor is unacceptable, and that all pending procedural issues be finalised before the end of the week.
Among these issues is the possible disciplinary action against managing director Immanuel Mulunga.
Ekandjo, board members say, is hardly present at meetings discussing Mulunga’s dealings.
On Monday, when Comalie was arrested, Ekandjo was also absent and was handing over houses to Namibia’s sprint sensations, Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, donated by MTC.
That meeting, New Era is reliably informed, had only one agenda item: Mulunga’s possible suspension.
The arrest came at the height of controversies between the board’s chairperson Comalie and Mulunga over an ongoing investigation into Mulunga’s alleged involvement in a payment of over N$100 million for two Angolan oil blocks, without the board’s blessing.
She was arrested after the police allegedly received a tip off from an anonymous member of the public.
Comalie’s vehicle was reportedly parked at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, adjacent to Namcor’s head office in Aviation Road, where she was to chair a decisive board meeting.
However, just a few minutes into the meeting, Comalie was supposedly asked by a police officer and an official from Namcor, informing her to step out of a meeting.
Insiders say, she was informed about the possibility that a significant amount of drugs were in her vehicle.
This information was allegedly communicated to Comalie with precision.
Perplexed but calm, Comalie complied and apparently walked with the men to her car.
Upon opening the vehicle’s door, a stench of what could be later discovered as narcotics, struck them.
Specifically, the search revealed 935 grams of cannabis, 60 units of crack cocaine, and 10 grams of cocaine powder. The drugs are valued at around N$57 000.
“It was as though the drugs had just been planted as the smell was very strong,” a person briefed on the matter said.
After the discovery, Comalie was informed about her imminent arrest.
She then asked to return to the Namcor board room, to inform her colleagues.
The board meeting was then abruptly adjourned.
Comalie appeared in a packed Windhoek Magistrate’s Court late yesterday afternoon on a charge of dealing in dependence producing substances. The State did not oppose bail and did not propose any conditions. The matter has been postponed to 31 July. The magistrate made it a final remand, meaning the case cannot be postponed again without a very good reason.
In attendance were prominent business people and government leaders.
Prosecutor Seradene Jacobs informed magistrate Jozene Klazen that investigations are still at an infant stage and that laboratory results are still outstanding. The police sources familiar with the case opined that it was uncertain where the drugs could have been placed in Comalie’s car, if the latter is to be true.
There were three possible options: Comalie’s private residence, the City of Windhoek’s head office or the mines and energy offices. Trevor Brockerhoff appeared for Comalie.
Meanwhile, in a letter to police chief Joseph Shikongo yesterday, Finance and Public Enterprises minister Shiimi lifted a veil, suggesting there was more than meets the eye in the ongoing skirmish at the oil parastatal.
In the letter, Shiimi requested that a security assessment be conducted around Comalie’s safety.
According to Shiimi, Comalie requested a meeting with him and his energy counterpart, Tom Alweendo, who attended yesterday’s court proceedings, where she alerted them that a close relative of her told her, “people are not happy with what she is doing at Namcor and these people will take unspecified action against her.”
While she remained unperturbed, she was starting to get worried about the safety of her daughter.
Shiimi and Alweendo informed Comalie to be on the lookout, and inform them if she observes any strange activities with a view to inform the police.
“Yesterday [Monday], 27 March 2023, a peculiar thing happened. I understand that she and her fellow board members were about to start a meeting with the minister of mines and energy [Alweendo], she was called by the police, who informed her that they needed to conduct a search of her vehicle. What transpired thereafter, the police is in a better position to confirm,” Shiimi submitted to Shikongo.
He also copied Alweendo and safety minister Albert Kawana in the letter.