NSFAF worse off if Nghiwete returns

29 November 2021 | Education

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK

The Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund’s legal secretary, Fillemon Immanuel, says it would be worse off if its CEO Hiliya Nghiwete were to return to managing the fund.

He made the comment when asked what was being done to address Nghiwete’s contract with the Fund.

The Office of the Labour Commissioner had ruled that Nghiwete, who had been suspended, be reinstated and paid in full for the months she had been suspended. The board is appealing against the order.

NSFAF paid Nghiwete N$2.7 million at the end of August despite having been dismissed in February 2020 after a drawn-out battle. Nghiwete earns N$2 million a year, or N$160 000 a month.

Worse off

“In the considered view of the board, the institution will actually be worse off if the then order of the day is restored,” Immanuel said.

“The board’s position is having regard to the allegations that are serious … in fact, if you were to have a sight of those, you would actually faint. Because of that, trust is broken irrecoverably. The board is saying we cannot entrust authority,” Immanuel said.

Immanuel said there had been difficulty dealing with Nghiwete’s disciplinary process.

“The board had initiated some disciplinary actions against certain employees. There have been challenges and limitations... The disciplinary hearing was not concluded as one of the parties was playing hide-and-seek,” Immanuel said.

NSFAF’s stance

NSFAF’s stance was also to protect the institution by paying Nghiwete her salary despite it also paying acting CEO Kennedy Kandume an allowance to head the institution in the interim.

“We are enjoined by the principle of reasonableness and the principle of fairness. We are expected to ensure that what we do is fair, what we do is reasonable and what we do is compliant with the law,” he said.

When Nghiwete was suspended in 2018, the board told her in a letter: “This is on account of serious allegations that have come to the attention of the board.

“The concerned allegations border on the centrality of maladministration and/or administrative corruption, amongst other misconducts, which upon preliminary review by the board presented prima facie reasons justifying that in the interest of the institution and the public at large, certain disciplinary actions be considered against her.”

Responding to Immanuel’s claims, Nghiwete said NSFAF was not dependent on her solely.

“One has to accept that there are people who by birth are malicious and what makes them happy as individuals is when they lie and destroy others. Such people need support and I pray this will happen to this individual. NSFAF is a system that is not dependent on one person,” Nghiwete said.

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