THE Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board on Wednesday rubbished accusations of graft and tribalism levelled against the federation by Katutura Central Constituency regional councillor Ambrosius Kandjii.
During a recent submission in the National Council, Kandjii claimed that the boxing establishment’s ex-secretary general Joe Kaperu and his interim successor Eckard Modise were fired without due process and on tribal grounds by a “rogue” board that defied “a ministerial order”.
“The reason for their suspension is tribalism. One of the board members allegedly said he [Modise] is Tswana, and he would never come back again (sic). In a government office, a certain tribe cannot come back, and then somebody has to lose his job just because he is a Tswana,” Kandjii reportedly said indignantly.
He then called on sports minister Erastus Uutoni to commission “a serious investigation into this board), claiming that he “was informed that the minister instructed the board to reinstate Mr Kaperu and Mr Modise, and that the board rejected a directive of the Minister.”
The above claims “are devoid of any truth, have no basis at all, and are a deliberate attempt not only to mislead the lawmakers, but also the larger public,” board member Ronald Kurtz said in a scathing response at a press conference.
In fact, “honourable Kandjii was part of the previous board, whose activities are subjected to an ACC investigation as we speak”, he shot back.
Kaperu was suspended on 9 November 2016 on allegations of gross misconduct, and following an investigation, he was charged with fraud.
“A hearing was held, and he was found guilty and subsequently dismissed upon recommendation of a completely independently disciplinary panel. He appealed the decision, which appeal was dismissed,” Kurtz detailed.
Similarly, Modise “was charged with dishonesty involving the embezzlement of funds” in May last year. Upon the conclusion of his hearing, he was “found guilty and dismissed”.
“Modise did not appeal his sanctions. As a matter of fact, the board laid criminal charges against him,” Kurtz said.
Neither Modise nor Kaperu have sought relief with the Labour Commissioner in relation to their unfair dismissals.
“It seems that the honourable Kandjii has a specific interest in this matter for reasons only known to himself.
“Honourable Kandjii is deliberately abusing parliamentary freedom of speech. What stopped him from engaging the board to acquaint himself with the facts, as he has such a keen interest in the matters of Kaperu and Modise?”, the lawyer asked.