NIP kicks Katiti out

03 September 2018 | Labour

The CEO of the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP), Augustinus Katiti, was fired on Friday.

In a hand-delivered letter, the NIP board informed him that they had resolved to dismiss him at an extraordinary board meeting held the previous day.

Board chairperson Diina Shuuluka told Katiti that he was fired because of his “unscrupulous” conduct and political interference to force them to reinstate him as CEO.

The NIP board suspended Katiti on 18 June 2018 after consulting health minister Bernard Haufiku and public enterprises minister Leon Jooste.

“Your conduct as aforesaid is in sense and effect calculated to thwart the lawfully and properly taken and constituted disciplinary action and hearing against you, thereby frustrating and compromising the continuation of disciplinary hearing,” said Shuuluka.

The serious allegations against him include overspending on subsistence and travel by over N$1 million after having been awarded a budget of N$2.5 million.

Katiti is said to have undertaken trips to the US, Sweden, Austria and South Africa.

Also under scrutiny is a trip to Italy undertaken by Katiti and five of his executives, which the cost the SOE N$400 000. The NIP top brass apparently went to Italy to purchase lavish office furniture to the tune of N$11 million, according to an insider privy to the affairs of the parastatal. Shuuluka said Katiti's dismissal was also influenced by the fact that he used the media to conduct his defence instead of allowing the disciplinary process to take its course. Following his suspension in June Katiti, through his lawyer Richard Metcalfe, accused the NIP board of leaking false information to the media in an attempt to tarnish his image. In statements to the media, he denied all allegations against him.



Controversy

Katiti is not new to controversy. He was widely criticised after receiving a N$2.78 million golden handshake when he resigned as the Walvis Bay municipality's CEO in March 2007.

At the time the Walvis Bay Residents Association (WBRA) and Walvis Bay resident Gerhard Rössler challenged the Walvis Bay town council's decision to approve the N$2.78 million payout to Katiti.

The Namibian newspaper reported in 2011 that in terms of his employment contract with the municipality, Katiti and the municipality had to give each other 60 days' notice if either of them wanted to end their employment relationship.

Katiti gave only six days' notice when he resigned on 27 March 2007, with his resignation taking effect on 2 April 2007. In terms of the Labour Act, therefore, he was entitled only to his last month's salary and to being paid out for unused accrued leave.

Neither Katiti nor ministers Haufiku and Jooste were immediately available for comment on his dismissal.



JEMIMA BEUKES

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