…Fires spokesperson ‘Kandjii’
…Charges legal advisor ‘Kaumbi’
…Offers Dean ‘Campbell’ a golden handshake to quit
In a rather out of hand move, the out-of-contract Namibia University of Science and Technology(NUST) Vice Chancellor Professor Tjama Tjivikua on Wednesday wielded his axed when he fired the institution’s spokesperson Kaitira Kandjii with immediate effect. Information emanating from NUST indicate that Tjivikua is also on a crusade to get rid of the institution’s legal adviser Joshua Kaumbi and the Dean of Management Sciences Harold Campbell. The duo, who both filed grievances against Tjivikua, joined the institution last year.
Kandjii was shown the door after he was found guilty for alleged gross negligence, flagrant dereliction of duty and poor performance.
Tjivikua and Kandjii have not been seeing eye-to-eye for years, with insiders indicating that there was no relationship between the two. The Patriot has learnt from some of the executives that Tjivikua informed Kandjii of the decision to terminate his services.
“Yes it is true I was relieved of my duties with immediate effect. That is all I can say for now, please contact the university if you want more information,” said Kandjii when contacted yesterday.
According to the charge sheet drafted by Tjivikua: “You violated the Public Procurement Act by unilaterally and irregularly committing the amount of N$247 235.35 or causing some amount or all of it to be paid to various companies on behalf of the University to provide equipment and services to NUST for its participation at the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair, thus bypassing procurement regulations.”
The Act states that any amount above N$15 000 must be considered by the Procurement Committee. Tjivikua however cancelled the purchase of the item, but approved payment for it in full.
Tjivikua also accused Kandjii of submitting an annual report of the institution late.
Kandjii was instructed by Tjivikua on 6 February 2018 to submit a complete draft of the annual report by 31 March 2018. Tjivikua said the report was only submitted in May without any approval for late submission.
The last charge is related to speeches that were submitted late and of substandard work.
“The allegation against you is that your submissions of the NUST Brief were of substandard nature. The submissions are riddled with errors and show that there was poor supervision or no due diligence exercised by yourself,” alleged Tjivikua.
Tjivikua’s crusade to get rid of Kandjii is not new, he has issued him with warnings in the past.
In the notice of the disciplinary hearing, Tjivikua informed Kandjii that he will be afforded the opportunity to refute the charges and that he has the right to be represented by a permanently appointed co-employee of NUST.
“It is your duty to arrange for your representative if you want to be represented. If you come to the hearing without a representative it will be viewed as your considered decision to waive your right to be represented,” said Tjivikua.
Kandjii subsequently chose NUST legal advisor Joshua Kaumbi to represent him.
After learning about this move, Tjivikua on 26 September 2018 wrote to Kaumbi cautioning him not to represent Kandjii because “the University needs the readily available service of a legal adviser, therefore you are herewith instructed not to represent any staff member at disciplinary hearing.”
Tjivikua said Kaumbi cannot represent Kandjii because “as per your fiduciary duty to the University and job profile, you are employed to represent the interests of the University only, and not interests of individual staff members.”
“The University has employed you as a legal adviser and representative in legal, labour and other matters, and therefore expects you to act purely in that capacity as such. When the interests of the University and a certain staff member collide, then you are required to act for the University, not the staff member.
Therefore, when you choose to represent a staff member, then you are no longer working in the best interests of the University, because you are in the direct conflict with the interests of the University and your fiduciary duty,” wrote Tjivikua in his letter addressed to Kaumbi.
Sources accused Tjivikua of breaching the NUST Human Resource Code of Conduct when he stopped Kaumbi from representing Kandjii.
“There is no clause in the HR Code that prevents the legal adviser from representing staff members. The VC must tell us where he derived that power from,” said the NUST source.
Kaumbi responded to Tjivikua on the same day saying there is nothing in the policy preventing him from representing Kandjii.
Kaumbi made a submission, seen by The Patriot, in which he responded to the charges on behalf of Kandjii. The submission was thrown out.
Kaumbi had reservations about the procedure considering the fact that Tjivikua is the complainant and initiator, yet he is also the person appointing members of the disciplinary committee.
“If the answer is in the affirmative then it means the VC is both judge and jury and the executioner. Given the fact that the VC is the complainant, the right thing would have ben to request the DVC or the Chairperson of Council to appoint members of the Disciplinary Committee, as well as all members present here reports directly to the person who lodged the complainant,” said Kaumbi.
Kaumbi said the composition of the committee is irregular, unlawful, ultra vires and their appointment is defective.
He also noted that the first charge is vague and embarrassing, while the second charge is defective because it states that the work was of substandard nature.
“Nothing is indicating as to how it was supposed to be drafted, and as who the person is who determined that it is substandard,” he said.
Kaumbi’s disciplinary proceedings will commence on 10 October 2018.
Campbell offered a golden handshake
The Patriot has also learnt that Tjivikua wants to forcefully eject Campbell from NUST. Campbell joined the institution last year.
Contents in a letter authored by Campbell to Tjivikua on 22 August 2018, indicate that Tjivikua requested the execution of a mutual termination of Campbell’s employment agreement, citing that ‘you and I do not seem to be compatible’.
“Further to your meeting with me, in your boardroom on August 14, 2018, at 12h15, I write on your request that I should consider a mechanism to mutually terminate my employment agreement with the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).
You gave me two options: Firstly, you urged me to give you an amount (money), that I would accept to “walk away” from my employment agreement by September 30th, 2018. Secondly, you warned me, that if I did not comply with the first option, that the outcome would be undesirable for me and my future professional career,” wrote Campbell.
Campbell said he replied to Tjivikua’s request saying: “I was unable to state an amount, there and then, however, I expressed my willingness to consider such an accommodation, if you could formally make your request in writing, with the financial settlement for such mutual termination of my employment agreement. You agreed that you would consider this, and inform me of your decision in a timely manner.”
“I must unequivocally state that I have done nothing wrong in the performance of my employment agreement, and I have met all the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of my employment agreement. I wish to further state that the perceived “incompatibility” between my person and that of yourself, is of a personal nature and bias entirely on your part,” Campbell said in opposition to Tjivikua’s request.
Campbell did not hold back in his hard-hitting letter in which he accused Tjivikua of exercising deliberate provocative and tyrannical behaviour to create a physical response. This incident relates to Campbell arriving during a presentation by Tjivikua after having gone to the toilet. In full view of NUST personnel, Tjivikua left the podium to reprimand Campbell for “acting like a child”.
“I did not respond however, as one is taught not to confront one’s aggressor, and I was fully aware of the expected response you wanted to evoke. It further should be noted that this was done, in the full view and attention of more than 30 other staff members. Consequently, I have chosen rather to write this letter to seek relief and protection from such aggression, prejudice, trolling and bullying, before “circumstances conspire negatively against my person,” Campbell said.