Wednesday 21 April 2021
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NIP’s CEO appointment mired in controversy

By Staff Writer

The current Namibia Institute of Pathology Board’s term will expire in September 2019. Led by Diina Shuuluka as chairperson, the appointment of the Namibia Institute of Pathology’s (NIP) substantive chief executive officer to replace Augustinus Katiti who was fired amidst accusations of corruption and mismanagement has been mired in controversy.
Mekondjo Nghipandulwa has been acting CEO for the time being although she is the company chief internal auditor.
It is alleged that the outgoing board has been slammed for hijacking the recruitment process which according to insiders should be carried out by the new board that is incoming.
Allegations are that they want to sneak in their favourite as NIP boss before the finalization of their tenure. “I think that one is their own agenda.
The aim is maybe to get that person in. Why – will that is open for interpretation.
They want to control people, the organization,” a source confided.
However, inside sources have claimed that the recruitment process of the next NIP boss has also involved the company secretary, Gibson Imbili.
The disgruntled NIP workers are asking how come Imbili is being involved in the recruitment of an official he would be reporting to.
Reports are that Imbili copied down a list of questions meant to be asked the candidates during the interviews, some of which are said to have been leaked.
“Iimbili is the legal person entrusted to advise the CEO, board and other staff on legal matters. He is a former magistrate who was fired because of corruption,” an insider confided with The Patriot.
He has worked in Gobabis as magistrate before he landed at NIP.
A close confidante described him as a “cry-baby”.
“Imbili and his board have been running the show,” another NIP worker who also refused to be named said.
Workers at the entity have slammed the whole recruitment process as having been riddled with bias while eye-brows have been raised on why the board who need a person with a Masters in Public Health when the position is about business administration.
Some staff members came out in protest against NIP and calling for the immediate intervention of health minister Kalumbi Shangula and public enterprises minister Leon Jooste.
Attempts to get clarity from the board chairperson, Dina Shuuluka were fruitless as her mobile phone was not being answered and ultimately unreachable.
However, Imbili, who spoke with The Patriot in a telephonic conversation flatly denied the accusations against him.
“I have never interfered.
That is a malicious and vindictive allegation for people only now to (say). I (sat) in the interview as an observer. I never asked any question and it is recorded as such.
“I (sat) just like a sit in all the board meetings.
Look, let us have a one-on-one session. I will organize a session with the appropriate people.
Please do not misquote me because it will not be ethical journalism,” he said before asking for questions to be sent via WhatsApp.
Inside sources have said they want the recruitment process to be carried out by a reputable recruitment company.
It was not clear to The Patriot why the board was in such a rush to handle the recruitment of a substantive CEO and not giving the job to a recruitment consultancy firm.
Allegations that have surfaced are that the board is in favour of former Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) chairperson, Evelyn Breuer Nghiwilepo.
Acting CEO elbowed out
Information coming from within NIP inner circles are that the acting CEO, Mekondjo Nghipandulwa was deliberately elbowed out of the run for the position. “If you check the job description of the CEO at NIP and the advertisement that was out in the newspapers, they are totally different. We were assuming all of that the advertising in the paper was meant to suit the candidate and to deliberately exclude the acting CEO,” the source further divulged.
“But mind you, in the past CEOs and the job description, the finance and business administration aspect are vital because NIP is a commercial entity.
So if you are classified as a commercial public entity, you would expect a person with a business or finance or economics degree. Anybody in the business sector,” said the source.
The interviews are said to have taken place early this month while there were more than 20 applicants, it seems only two made it to the interviews.
While Breuer Nghiwilepo was interviewed face to face, Dr Chris Hikuam from  the Peninsula University of Technology, Dr Chris Hikuam is said to have been interviewed via Skype. Hikuam has an extensive curriculum vitae having bagged a PhD in Biomedical Technology specializing in medical laboratory sciences while Nghiwilepo is the Founding Director of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety and Security Research.
She is also certified as a holder of a Master of Sciences degree specializing in biological and biomedical sciences.
Some workers said they got know that there was going to be an interview of online because “One of the IT technicians was failing to set up the Skype to perform the interview”.  Besides Imbili, Fanuel Tjivua who is a board member and chairperson for Remco is said to have constituted the panel of interviewers.
NIP’s HR officer Jason Kafidi is also said to have been on the panel. Although a petition was handed over to Shangula and Jooste by protesting workers, both ministers had yet to respond, by the time The Patriot went for print.

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