Friday 18 June 2021
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Kandjii-Murangi wants Nghiwete fired

A series of letters between three ministers seen by The Patriot show how desperate the Minister of Higher Education Itah Kandjii-Murangi, wants suspended Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) Chief Executive Officer Hilya Nghiwete fired from the fund.
Last year while Nghiwete was already on suspension, Kandjii-Murangi wrote to public enterprises minister Leon Jooste asking him how best Nghiwete’s employment contract could be terminated.
This was despite the fact that there were four corruption investigations made against Nghiwete by Ernst & Young, KPMG, John-Hendrikse and the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Despite the fund struggling to disburse student loans due to a liquidity challenge, The Patriot understands that NSFAF paid KPMG N$2,9 million to secure evidence against Nghiwete.
The audit was instituted by NSFAF’s new board which was controversially appointed early last year by Kandjii-Murangi.
The outcomes of the audit have as yet not been made public after KPMG confirmed completing the assignment.
The previous NSFAF board is said to have spent close to N$1 million in various investigations including one by Ernst & Young on the same matter. In 2016, The Patriot reported details emerging about the badly-hidden feud between NSFAF board chair Patty Karuaihe-Martin and Nghiwete, but inside sources allege that plans to oust her(Nghiwete) are part of a bigger plot, which includes ministerial plans to introduce a quota system when it comes to allocating funds to universities. It is alleged that those who want Nghiwete out have been harassing and victimising her.
Kandjii-Murangi, when approached stated she could not remember writing such a letter to the Minister of Public Enterprises.  Jooste in turn, acknowledged receipt of such a letter but retracted it later by stating he confused the letter with another one dealing with board issues, rather than the CEO. Nghiwete appeared before a disciplinary hearing from Tuesday this week and her hearing is expected to come to an end today (Friday).
In light of Kandjii-Murangi’s letter, Jooste wrote to previous attorney-general Sacky Shangala to solicit a legal opinion but Shangala responded to his cabinet colleagues that it would be unfair for Nghiwete’s employment contract to be terminated since that would be equivalent to victimisation.
Contacted for comment this week, current Attorney General Albert Kawana referred questions to Jooste and Kandjii-Murangi.
“That is privileged information which can only be revealed by the client but not my office. Just like you in your profession or training that you cannot reveal your sources. If you want more information in this regard, I think just deal with my clients because I cannot disclose what I had advised my client,” he said.
Asked whether he had received Jooste’s letter, Kawana had this to say: “you see my brother, that is why I am saying just check with those clients because for me, my function in terms of the constitution is to advise the President and government but in terms of what I advise legally, (that) is attorney-client privileged information which can only be released by clients not by my office.”
Nghiwete was suspended in April 2018 on allegations of maladministration or administrative corruption, amongst other misconducts.
Her disciplinary hearing is chaired by Clemens Daniel from the legal firm FB Law Chambers owned by lawyer Francios-Xavier Bangamwabo.
Asked about the outcome of the hearing, acting NSFAF chief executive officer Kenneth Kandume refused to comment referring this journalist to NSFAF board chairperson Klemens Awarab.
In a matter still before the High Court, Nghiwete claimed the improper appointment of the NSFAF Board means that this Board is without a legal mandate.
An attempt by the board of Namibia Students Financial Aid Fund(NSFAF) to forcibly eject suspended chief executive officer Hilya Nghiwete from office was foiled when her legal team found some legal discrepancies that affect the legitimacy of board.
During a disciplinary hearing held on 3 October 2019 at NIPAM, the board was ready to grill Nghiwete until lawyer Sisa Namandje’s hawks eye for legal glitches spotted that “upon our diligence search we have established that that Act is yet to come into operation as the date of commencement of that Act was never determined by notice in the Gazette by the Minister.”
That being the case, Namandje asserted that Jerome Mutumba “can never be a director of NSFAF and its Chairperson in the eyes of the law.
Consequently the charges are null and void. This issue will have to be determined as the outset of the hearing. If you have a contrary view please provide us with the Minister’s notice putting into operation the Act on the date determined by her,” said Namandje.
Namandje maintained that the entire NSFAF board were unlawfully appointed because they were purportedly appointed in terms of the NSFAF Amendment Act 7 of 2014.
Namandje also indicated at the start of the hearing that the process cannot continue unless NSFAF provides his client with the forensic report that was carried out.
NSFAF was represented by Advocate Andrew Corbett.
In an attempt to correct her blunder, However, Kandjii-Murangi issued the board with new appointment letters for a period of three years, rather than the initial one year.
This appointment was made in terms of the NSFAF Act of 2000, supported by the Public Enterprises Governance Act of 2015.
When contacted for comment, Lawyer Sisa Namandje confirmed the ongoing court case which is set to resume on 15 May 2019. He refused to provide further comment.

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