By Victor Angula /
Namibia Desert Diamonds (NAMDIA) will not say anything concerning the unceremonious exit of its former chief executive officer Mr Kennedy Hamutenya whose time at the helm of the state-owned enterprise came to an end at the end of June.
While Hamutenya was instrumental in the setting up of the parastatal and led it during its formative 5 years, a media statement released by the company on 29 June 2022 simply said:
“NAMDIA BIDS FAREWELL TO ITS FIRST CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER. The Board, Management and staff members of Namibia Desert Diamonds (NAMDIA) herewith wish to express our gratitude for the service rendered by Mr. Kennedy Hamutenya, who served as the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of NAMDIA from 01 July 2017 until 01 July 2022.
“It is under Mr. Hamutenya’s stewardship, that NAMDIA was successfully established and now a renowned trader of Namibian diamonds. We are excited about the new phase that the company enters as it expands its horizons in pursuing its mandate of price discovery on Namibian diamonds.
“We wish Mr. Hamutenya well in all his future endeavours.
“The Board also wishes to announce the appointment of Ms. Lelly Usiku, the General Manager: Sales and Marketing as the Acting Chief Executive Officer of NAMDIA effective 2nd July 2022 until a substantive CEO is appointed. The Board would like to congratulate and wish Ms. Usiku all the best in her new role and look forward to her continued contribution.”
While the statement was not signed, it indicated that it was issued by the company’s Public Relations Officer Ms Beverley Coussement, where normally such kind of a statement would be signed by a company’s chairperson or vice-chairperson of the board.
Soon enough media reports said that Mr Hamutenya had opened a case at the Labour Court against the company.
In response Ms Coussement issued another statement on 4 July, saying: “QUERIES PERTAINING TO NAMDIA CEO’S TENURE ENDING. “We refer to our Media Release of 29 June 2022 and other published articles in various local newspapers pertaining to the CEO’s tenure at NAMDIA.
“On 30 June 2022, Mr. Hamutenya referred a dispute to the Labour Commissioner against NAMDIA. As a result, all matters pertaining to the tenure of the CEO have become sub judice and we shall, for now, refrain from comments on this issue.
“For further details and information pertaining to our staff compliment, operations and annual turnover, kindly view our Annual Reports on our website.”
Omutumwa followed up on Coussement with an email with questions: “Taking into account, however, the fact that a dispute at the Labour Court can take even up to three years, is it fair that for that three years the media should not report about the matter?
“And if the media goes around reporting on information acquired somewhere else, but without getting the side of NAMDIA, that is, without getting any information from the horse’s mouth, will that be fair to the company?
“The unwillingness on the part of NAMDIA to engage in an honest manner with the media, will such not be construed that the company is the one holding onto the wrong end of the stick in the dispute?
“Could you ask the Chairperson of the Board of NAMDIA to reconsider such a decision that tries to keep the media, and by extension the public, in the dark about the issue?”
Coussement replied by saying: “While NAMDIA understands the frustration and position you might find yourself in as journalist, NAMDIA is unfortunately not in a position to provide any further information nor comments on questions or queries pertaining to the CEO’s end of tenure.
“Our Media Announcement released on 04 July 2022, indicates the reason thereof.
“For any other information regarding our operations, please feel free to email us or visit our website.”
In the photo: Former CEO of the sparkling gem dealer, Mr Kennedy Hamutenya, and acting CEO Ms Lelly Usiku.