Nghiwete’s case postponed March 2021

The case involving dismissed Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NASFAF), Chief Executive Officer, Hilya Nghiwete against the Ministry of Higher Education, relating to the former’s dismissal, was on Tuesday postponed to 25 March 2021.

Nghiwete took the ministry and the fund to court in 2019 challenging the legality around the appointment of NSFAF’s board of directors, which, a few months after its appointment, placed her on suspension and instituted disciplinary proceedings against her. The legal battle was constituted while she was on suspension.

In her application, Nghiwete, through her lawyer, Sisa Namandje, she argued that the board’s appointment by the Minister of Higher Education, Itah Kandjii-Murangi was unlawful as it was done in terms of the NSFAF Amendment Act of 2014 as opposed to the NSFAF main Act, Act. No. 26 of 2000. The NSFAF Amendment Act was not yet gazetted and as such was not in force.

She asked for the high court to review and set aside the nomination, constitution, and appointment of that board and to declare it null and void and of no effect.

Nghiwete had further asked the court to declare unlawfully and set aside all decisions taken by the board regarding her suspension and all processes undertaken with regards to the investigations and disciplinary hearings constituted against her.

Nghiwete was, however, dismissed in February this year, nearly two years after she was suspended.

NSFAF, through the government attorney Karin Klazen has since questioned the relevance of going forward with the application as she is no longer their employee.

Klazen said Nghiwete’s dismissal has rendered her case academic and moot as according to him, even if the court was to review and set aside the composition of the board and review and set aside the NASFAF’s decision to charge Nghiwete, it will not assist her in any way because her contract was terminated not based on the outcomes of the hearing but due to her failure to show up to several hearings.

The government attorney alleges that Nghiwete -for the last 21 months- seemed to have been advised to frustrate the process and was delaying the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing while she was getting a full salary from the fund.

The case was heard by High Court Judge Harold Gei

Source: Namibia Press Agency