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Nghiwete awaits reinstatement ruling

2022-09-05  Maria Amakali

Nghiwete awaits reinstatement ruling

Suspended Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund CEO Hilya Nghiwete is in for another two weeks wait to hear if the High Court will rule in favour of her reinstatement.

The ruling, which was scheduled to be delivered on Friday, was for a second time postponed to 16 September by Judge Herman Oosthuizen.

“I apologise for the delay. I know this matter has come a long way. However, the judgement is not ready and I have to send it to be edited,” said Oosthuizen.

Oosthuizen is expected to give a ruling on the appeal application filed by Nghiwete’s employer in August 2021.  The fund filed an appeal against the arbitrator’s ruling of 15 July 2021, which ordered the fund to reinstate Nghiwete with backpay. 

In its appeal, the fund is arguing the arbitrator failed to take into account the totality of the evidence and her actions when making that ruling. 

The fund believes it would not be in the institution’s best interest to reinstate Nghiwete as the trust relationship between her and the fund is broken. 

The fund has allegedly thrived without her at its helm as the culture has changed from “corridor talks to people focusing on their responsibilities”.  

The fund, through its lawyer Andrew Corbett, indicated Nghiwete has since been paid N$4 million over a period of 22 months while on suspension, whilst not rendering any services to the fund in any capacity.

Corbett argued Nghiwete has drawn out her suspension by using various tactics so that she may not answer to the allegations. The process has been postponed six times upon her request.It is NSFAF’s stance that she has profited from the fund by her continuous efforts to frustrate the fund and delay the matter so as to ensure that it is not concluded. 

Corbett also argued Nghiwete knows she would be found guilty and subsequently face dismissal.

However, Nghiwete’s lawyer Sisa Namandje said the fund has no choice but to reinstate her, as ordered. 

He indicated that the arbitrator was right in her ruling that Nghiwete had been unfairly dismissed as she did not go through a disciplinary hearing as required by law.Namandje added the law requires that a hearing should be conducted first before a final warning or dismissal is recommended. 

Nghiwete was not convicted of any disciplinary offence nor was she furnished with the charges levelled against her.

2022-09-05  Maria Amakali

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