Namibia: Aochamub flatly denies corruption allegations

Regulation & Policy

The board of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) as well as the Anti-Corruption (ACC) this week cleared director general Albertus Aochamub of graft allegations. Those behind the rumours would be dealt with, board chairperson Sven Thieme warned. 

According to Thieme, they "have taken note, with dissatisfaction", that it is alleged that the tender amount for the NBC's digital terrestrial television (DTT) was inflated from N$30 million to N$70 million. 

Thieme further took issue with rumours "that some form of foul play and impropriety is at play" and that the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) had reported the matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). 

According to Thieme, the NBC ran an open and transparent public tender from March 25 2011 to April 19 2011 during which four companies - Broadcast & Installation Engineering, MultiChoice Namibia Limited, Harambe Technologies and Huawei Technologies International - submitted bids. 

The chairperson said Huawei Technologies was selected as the most favourable company. The value of the tender was around N$377 million at the exchange rate at the time after a ten per cent discount, Thieme said. Currently, the figure would stand at close to N$500 million. 

Aochamub last week said the N$30 million and N$70 million were concocted figures. "It shows the level of ignorance - they can't even start a rumour based on fact." Negotiating a ten per cent discount would go against any intention of inflating the price to pocket the excess, he emphasised. 

Asked whether it was true that he consulted with his lawyers before returning to Namibia recently following rumours of his imminent arrest, Aochamub said: "When will it end? There is no truth in that. I don't even know who my lawyers are." 

Paulus Noa, the director of the ACC, yesterday said there was no investigation against Aochamub. "There was nothing like that reported to us." 

In a press release, Thieme said DTT would be available to all Namibians. "This is an opportunity to close the digital divide in this country through offering innovative solutions other than TV viewing through the new broadcast platforms. More channels, more choice of entertainment and gaming, [and] maybe internet access through the TV set are all possibilities we are working on." 

He said that "every cent of the Namibian taxpayer's money to be invested in this project will be carefully managed and put to the use that is intended for. We will also deal with all those who spread rumours firmly and fairly, because it distracts our attention from the work at hand and that will not be tolerated."