Poly Sacks Staff Over Bribes

THREE Polytechnic of Namibia employees were dismissed following investigations into how some students were allowed to access their results when they owed the institution outstanding fees.

Polytechnic rector Tjama Tjivikua told The Namibian yesterday that the trio was found guilty and dismissed between March and April for unauthorised reactivation of student accounts.

The institution does not allow students who are in default to access their exam results or to register online.

Tjivikua said a financial block was supposed to ensure that only students whose accounts are up to date or have the minimum required deposits reflected are able to register online, or students whose accounts have a nil balance can have access to their examination results.

Although the institution could not establish how many students were involved in the scheme, he said the ongoing investigation would determine the exact number of students involved.

Sources say the three employees, who worked in the finance department, have been accepting bribes from desperate and financially struggling students to enable them to view their examination results against the institution’s policies.

The rector said approximately 13 000 students owe about N$87 million in tuition fees, which should be settled before they can sit for their June examinations. He further said the N$87 million is due from both funded and unfunded students.

It is not clear for how many years the financial officers have been accepting cash from students to reactivate their accounts.

Although inside sources said the institution was threatening to deregister about 1 000 students who are in default, Tjivikua could neither confirm nor deny this.

He however said an SMS was sent out warning students to settle any outstanding fees before 30 April.

“So far, no student has been deregistered, but the institution reserves the right to deregister defaulting students,” he said.

A research conducted by Polytechnic Student Representative Council president Oscar Mwandingi revealed that 700 Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) loan beneficiaries were not enrolled at the Polytechnic for the 2015 academic year, many of them due to non-payment of fees.

“The results show that most of the students did not have money. Other reasons are that students had no subjects for which to register in the first semester, had work commitments, went on maternity and others had transferred to other institutions. On what happened to the loans, the majority indicated that the money was withheld because they had failed,” said Mwadingi.

Mwandingi said they expect the number to double in the second semester if NSFAF fails to take drastic steps to solve the problem.

“Furthermore, NSFAF will not be able to recover the loans these students have taken if they are not given a chance to complete their studies,” he said.

Attempts to get comment from NSFAF spokesperson Fillemon Wise Immanuel proved futile.

Source : The Namibian