August 26 closure costs 82 jobs

… After ‘N$25m fraud’ reported but not prosecuted

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

AUGUST 26 Textile, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Defense-owned company August 26 Holdings, is set to close down by the end of February, leaving more than 80 workers jobless. This was confirmed to Confidente by one of the company’s senior officials on Wednesday.

The official, who did not want to be named, said August 26 Holdings took a decision recently to shut down its textile firm on 29 February.  They said the company’s workers had been informed earlier on Wednesday about the shut-down. The company’s closure will leave 82 workers unemployed.

“Yes, the meeting took place this morning. Someone was sent from the Holdings [company] or head office just to come to tell us that the company is going to close on 29 February. The members have been informed but there were a lot of issues.

“The right person to be questioned is the chief executive officer, because they took the decision that we are all going to be retrenched including the managing director,” the official said, but the CEO of August 26 Holdings, George Kaxuxwena could not be reached for comment yesterday and August 26 Textile managing director Silas Amunyela refused to comment on the matter.

However, the chairperson of August 26 board of directors Nali Ashipala confirmed the imminent closure of the textile plant to Confidente, saying that the government-owned company is in the red.

“The company is in financial crisis. Literally it cannot afford to pay salaries anymore. Right now it pays salaries but there is no money… it’s really struggling. There is no production, there is no customer, there is nothing. Literally that is what it is,” Ashipala said briefly before asking that written questions be sent to her for further clarification.

The closure of the company is linked to more than N$25 million, which reportedly went missing between 2011 and 2017. Confidente reported in November that the company had dismissed its financial manager, Paulus Moshana, for having misappropriated N$25.7 million. Moshana was dismissed after he was found guilty of having embezzled funds.

He was accused of having paid the money into accounts of his companies, Omakuva Trading, and Proficiency cc. Inside sources at August 26 told Confidente at the time that Moshana worked closely with his wife Ester Shimwandi, who was employed as a clerk in Moshana’s office but later moved to another company where she worked as a cashier until her resignation in February last year.

Shimwandi was said to be responsible for verifying invoices, while her husband released the payments. It is understood that Moshana invoiced the company for services he claimed to have rendered to August 26 Textile, but it is strongly alleged by the company that he did not deliver those services.

One well-placed source said the trend started in 2011 but was only detected in 2017 when Amunyela took over as managing director. Although the case was reported to Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Namibian Police no arrest has been effected.

Moshana previously refused to comment on the allegations, saying “Where did you get that information? Go back to your sources.” ACC director general Paulus Noa confirmed late last year that a file had been opened by the ACC regarding the August 26 Textile case, but it was being handled by the police.