NSFAF fires Nghiwete

11 February 2020 | Labour

The Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) has fired its CEO, Hiliya Nghiwete, who had been on suspension for 21 months.

Her lawyer, Sisa Namandje, confirmed the termination of her employment yesterday, and said the fund would “pay dearly” for firing his client without a hearing.

Namandje said he would file an application in court for what he said was a “straightforward” case because his client was fired without a hearing.





“There was a hearing process and they abandoned it. They fired her without finding her guilty,” Namandje said.

Namibian Sun understands that Nghiwete's contract was terminated after she had failed to appear before a disciplinary hearing on several occasions.

“She was booked off by a professional, so she couldn't attend the hearings. There was even a time when she lost her father but NSFAF insisted she must appear before the hearing. It's completely unlawful,” Namandje added.

Nghiwete was initially placed on suspension in April 2018 for alleged maladministration. She is currently challenging her suspension, with a hearing expected in the High Court in May, Namandje said.

A new court application would now be filed to challenge the dismissal, Namandje said.

“There is no law in this country authorising anyone to fire a person without first finding them guilty through a disciplinary hearing. Maybe NSFAF has a lot of money to waste, but they'll pay dearly for this unlawful act,” he remarked.

Nghiwete is challenging the legality of the appointment of the NSFAF board, which eventually suspended her.

NSFAF board chairperson Frans /Awaseb would neither confirm nor deny Nghiwete's dismissal, saying: “We are going to issue a press release; wait for the press release.”

Nghiwete referred comments to Namandje when called for comment.

Nghiwete, in her founding application of the current court case, claimed to have been subjected to continuous victimisation by the previous and current NSFAF board of directors on “spurious and unfounded allegations”, saying there seems to be a determined effort to unfairly and unlawfully terminate her employment at NSFAF.

Nghiwete said as soon as the new board commenced its term, it became clear that it wanted to get rid of her and “without hesitation”.

This victimisation, she said, particularly came from former board chairperson Jerome Mutumba, who among others, made “disparaging and defamatory allegations” against her on NBC's One-on-One television programme without her having been given an opportunity to be heard.

Despite Nghiwete's argument that the board was illegally appointed and therefore cannot suspend or press charges against her, the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing Clement Daniels directed on 9 October that the hearing must proceed.

Nghiwete said this decision was “unsound and bad in law” for a number of reasons.

OGONE TLHAGE

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