NSFAF not keen on reinstating Nghiwete

06 August 2021 | Labour

TUYEIMO HAIDULA



OSHAKATI

The Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) is looking into fighting an order made by the Office of the Labour Commissioner to reinstate its dismissed CEO Hilya Nghiwete.

Allegations are rife that higher education minister Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi gave instructions to the fund’s board chairperson, Klemens /Awarab, to appeal the decision to have Nghiwete reinstated.

Kandjii-Murangi dismissed the accusations yesterday and told Namibian Sun that she has no business getting involved in board decisions.

“This is not the way to do things. Why would I interfere in the work of the board? I am in the middle of something and I do not have any comment on this,” she said.

Namibian Sun understands the NSFAF board is at pains to follow the reinstatement order which will see Nghiwete reporting for duty on 1 September because of “broken trust and continuous infighting between her [Nghiwete] and the current board”.

The fund has also reportedly already spent over N$5 million in legal costs because of unresolved internal issues, including the Nghiwete fight.

NSFAF received N$1.2 billion for the current financial year, but it remains unclear how much the institution channels towards legal costs annually.

/Awarab could not be reached for comment as his phone went unanswered and he did not respond to messages sent to his phone.

No bad blood

Nghiwete was dismissed in February last year following a lengthy suspension since April 2018 because of alleged maladministration.

The fund's spokesperson, Olavi Hamwele, said this is board issue and he does not have the mandate to discuss it.

“The reinstatement topic is not at my level. I cannot say anything about it. I am willing to discuss anything else, including the progress we made on recovering money from former students who owe us,” Hamwele said.

Nghiwete yesterday said she is not aware of any bad blood between her and Kandjii-Murangi. She was reluctant to discuss the issue further, but added: “I am a professional and I am ready to work with anyone for the best interest of the students and the country”.

Pay up

The Office of the Labour Commissioner ordered Nghiwete's reinstatement after a labour arbitrator found she had been unfairly dismissed from her position as NSFAF CEO.

NSFAF was also ordered to reimburse Nghiwete to the tune of about N$2.7 million for financial losses she claimed to have suffered during the period she was not at work at the students’ fund.

The payment should be made no later than the end of August, it was ordered.

- [email protected]

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