Former CEO of the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) Hilya Nghiwete has withdrawn a court application in which she was challenging the decision of the higher education minister to appoint a new board at NSFAF, which later dismissed her.
Judge Kobus Miller removed Nghiwete’s application from the court roll, and deemed it finalised after she withdrew the matter.
“The applicant is ordered to pay the costs of the NSFAF respondents (2nd, 4th to 10th, and 12th respondents), including the costs of one instructing and one instructed counsel,” ordered Miller.
By the agreement between the parties, the minister of higher education will pay for her own legal costs.
In March 2019, Nghiwete approached the High Court to seek a review and setting aside of minister of higher education Itah Kandjii-Murangi’s decision to appoint a new board that was chaired by Jerome Mutumba.
She argued that the board’s appointment by Kandjii-Murangi was unlawful as it was done in terms of the NSFAF Amendment Act of 2014, as opposed to the NSFAF’s main Act, Act No. 26 of 2000.
The NSFAF Amendment Act was not yet gazetted, and as such was not in force.
She claimed that the minister did not follow the law when she appointed the new board. Thus, the board’s appointment was illegal, and any decision that may have been taken by it.
Furthermore, she wanted an order declaring the new board’s decision to suspend her and instituting disciplinary proceedings against her as unlawful as they were appointed illegally.
The board instituted charges of maladministration, gross negligence, gross sabotage and causing harm to the NSFAF’s interests, amongst others.
In her founding affidavit, Nghiwete indicated that it was clear the new board wanted to get rid of her as soon as they were appointed.
“As soon as the old board of directors were replaced by the new unlawfully constituted and appointed board, they with immediate effect took steps to come up with bogus charges against me. Such charges have been changing over time,” she stated.
Nghiwete was subsequently fired in February 2020 after having been on suspension for 21 months.