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Govt freezes Agronomic board executive salaries

Written by on June 6, 2024

… one executive overpaid by N$720 000 annually

The government has frozen executive salaries at the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) after the auditor general’s findings that a senior manager at the parastatal was overpaid by almost N$700 000 annually.

Auditor general Junias Kandjeke’s 2021/2022 report into the NAB, a state-owned entity responsible for regulating agricultural imports, raised several concerns, including the salary of a senior manager.

Kandjeke found that finance, information technology, human resource and administration manager Barbara Snyders-Bock was paid N$1,4 million per year instead of N$722 000, as per government salary guidelines.

He also questioned why Snyders-Bock’s salary was above the board’s limit of N$927 000 per year.

Finance and public enterprises spokesperson Wilson Shikoto told The Namibian last week the ministry is aware of the audit report.

“To ensure equity and compliance with established guidelines, the ministry has decided to freeze the current salaries until all executive remunerations are aligned with the approved bands,” he said.

Shikoto did not elaborate on how many executives are overpaid.

He said the decision to freeze salaries is part of the ministry’s ongoing efforts to rectify discrepancies and ensure fair compensation practices across all public enterprises.

Shikoto said the salaries in question were approved by a previous board a decade ago.

Junias Kandjeke


In his report, Kandjeke blames the board for failing to comply with the minister’s directives and for not providing the auditors with concurrence from the minister.


NAB chief executive officer (CEO) Fidelis Mwazi declined to comment on the audit report because it is yet to be tabled in parliament.
The Namibian accessed the audit report on the auditor general’s website.

Mwazi said matters concerning NAB employees are not for public discussion.

“We are not at liberty to discuss the contents of that report at this stage. NAB considers matters concerning our employees to be confidential and not suitable for public discussion.”

He said the NAB has established robust internal processes and procedures to address any grievances or disputes that may arise among employees.

“These procedures are designed to ensure fairness, confidentiality and compliance with applicable laws and regulations,” he said.

Mwazi advised The Namibian against publishing the information.

“We advise against publishing any information pertaining to these confidential matters, as doing so may compromise the privacy and rights of NAB employees and potentially result in legal consequences.

“Furthermore, the dissemination of defamatory content could damage an individual’s reputation and disrupt workplace harmony,” he added.

Apart from concerns about the salary of its senior manager, the human resource department is accused of frustrating some workers.

Sources pointed to an incident involving the payment of a bonus to one employees as an example.

Barbara Snyders-Bock

Records seen by The Namibian show that a performance bonus payment of N$42 000 was scheduled to be made to an employee.

However, it was later allegedly reduced to N$21 000 without consulting the employee. The employee then took up the matter with the CEO and the bonus payment was charged to N$42 000. The employee has subsequently resigned.

Regarding the allegations, The Namibian reached out to Sydners-Bock, who referred the matter to Mwazi.

“Please take note that it is only the CEO that should communicate with the media. So, I will forward your questions to him,” she said.
Mwazi, however, said the bonus matter had been resolved.

“The issue regarding the performance bonus was addressed internally and resolved, with the employee in question receiving his full performance bonus,” he said. NAB board chairperson Hubertus Hamm said he was fully aware of the issues raised by The Namibian.

“There are points of an operational nature included, which should and are handled on an operational level by the CEO. The governance of the organisation requires a “hands off, nose in” approach by the board,” he said.

Lawyer Richard Metcalfe, who has previously represented parastatal CEOs, said there is no legislation prohibiting excess salaries.
He noted that the board must be held accountable.

“I have searched to see if there is any legislation prohibiting the excess of salaries. There is none, as they are not public service employees. Rather, it is the inept boards of directors who must be held to account for authorising the excess salaries of management,” he added.

Metcalfe called for the sitting fees of directors to be scrutinised.

Metcalfe questioned why the public enterprises ministry allowed its legislation to be breached.

“The question then goes begging as to what the minister intends to do faced with such incompetence and why he has allowed his own legislation to be breached,” he said.

The post Govt freezes Agronomic board executive salaries appeared first on The Namibian.

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