Chairman of the National Fishing Corporation’s temporary board has called on authorities to unfreeze the corporation’s accounts, saying these funds are in no way linked to the ongoing Fishrot investigation.
Seasoned administrator Mihe Gaomab II, who is tasked with turning around the scandal-tainted company, said Fishcor has been making losses for some time but vowed to turn around the company through transparency and sound leadership.
At a media briefing in the capital yesterday, Gaomab lamented the escalating operational challenges at the state-owned entity, saying authorities assured the board that accounts would be unfrozen during this week. He said the money is sorely needed to pay employees and to attend to other financial obligations emanating from activities that include more than 80 000 metric tons of horse mackerel it was recently allocated for the current fishing season. Fishcor’s accounts were frozen due to possible links to money laundering and bribery.
“The board hereby fully acknowledged (sic) the Organs of State in terms of the investigation and suffice to add that we offer our full cooperation with relevance to the applicable laws on the provision of requisite information to ensure the completion of the investigation,” Gaomab assured.
In a bid to turn around the tarnished corporation, Gaomab, who was the sole Fishcor representative at the briefing, noted the board secured all 820 workers at their Lüderitz processing plant and 650 workers at Walvis Bay to Tunacor – and as such, it “has not retrenched any workers to date”.
Said Gaomab: “The Board has continued, and on a consistent basis during these trying times, remained committed to address[ing] challenges faced at Fishcor with a compassionate and humane understanding of the situation at moment, whilst cognizant of addressing the strategic, executive and operational challenges currently faced with respect to Fishcor. At the moment, it has secured conducive industrial relations with a view of auctioning 3 000 metric ton of hake in January 2021, where it has secured successfully revenue proceeds from quotas for the sole purpose of employee sustenance and to attend to ensured financial obligations and addressing the urgent overhead expenses”.
He continued that the Fishcor board will soon appoint a new CEO – and given the pressing strategic, financial, commercial and pending operational challenges, it is formulating a turnaround strategy.
This strategy is in line with the public enterprises ministry’s directive to develop an Integrated Strategic Business Plan (ISBP) for 2020/21.
“The expectation is that the ISBP offers an analytic insight into the enterprise, its ambitions and plans to achieve such. Fishcor will report against the ISBP on a periodic basis to the Minister of Public Enterprises, explaining deviations against financial and non-financial targets, and as and when necessary propose for approval by the shareholder representative the adjustment of targets in a well-motivated, informed and transparent manner. The ISBP will instil the much-desired discipline in the management of public enterprises, whereby results-reporting is against clearly defined strategic objectives and targets to facilitate long-overdue accountability management,” said Gaomab at yesterday’s briefing.
Meanwhile, responding to questions from New Era, Gaomab dismissed rumours of Fishcor gunning for more shareholding in its associative entity, Seaflower Pelagic Processing (SPP), in which it already holds equity interest of 40%. The remaining 60% is held by Angola-based African Selection Trust (AST).
“This associative entity culminated into Fishcor successfully defending the Windhoek High Court Judgment by the Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula last year, where the judgement painted a concerning picture on the agreements that were signed in 2016 between Fishcor and SPP. The matter is still sub judicia and the Board respect the legal route on the matter, as the case is currently before the court,” Gaomab stated.
Regarding the search for a new CEO, Gaomab said the board is conducting psychometric assessments of nine candidates, after which shortlisted candidates will be interviewed. The board aims to complete the appointment of the new CEO by next month.
“The board is cognizant that this process of recruiting a CEO is followed in a transparent, objective and integral fashion. The process of appointing the CEO will strictly be enhanced through a due diligence process and the company’s Human Resource processes will be followed transparently and in accordance with Fishcor’s Recruitment and Selection policy,” Gaomab concluded.