Bureaucratic bungling by the State could see suspended Namibian Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) Chief Executive Officer, Hilya Nghiwete, return to her position through a technicality as it emerged Wednesday that any decision taken by the fund post 2014 when its founding Act was amended are non-binding and illegal.
The failure by the Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi, to set a date when the amended NSFAF Act of 2014 would become operational government to gazette a clause in the Namibian Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) Act of 2014 could come back to haunt it after it emerged during the hearing of Nghiwete that any decision taken by the fund post 2014 are non-binding and illegal.
Nghiwete’s lawyer, Sisa Namandje, revealed the bombshell during the hearing
This means that Nghiwete’s suspension as head of the fund, the appointment of the Jerome Mutumba led board that pushed for her suspension and the appointment of Kennedy Kandume as Acting CEO and his subsequent cancellation of the Tribesman debt collection services could be invalid if the claims are found to be true.
The revelation means NSFAF could be forced to withdraw its suspension of Nghiwete, allowing her to resume her duties.
Another implication is that Tribesman, whose Debt collection agreement with the fund was recently terminated, would likely retain its rights to collect debt on behalf of the fund.
The Minister of Higher Education is also likely to be forced to withdraw her appointment of the Mutamba led board to comply with the law.
When contacted for comment, Mutamba refused to be drawn into the matter.
“I cannot comment on that, let due process take its course,” he said.
A NSFAF board member who refused to be named, however, quested why Nghiwete would call herself the CEO of the fund if the principal Act of NSFAF does not have a provision for the position, but only makes one for a Head of the Secretariat.
The board member also argued that the SEO Act superseded the fund’s principal Act, and thus legally enforces the board’s appointments and its decision thereafter.
Nghiwete was suspended in April over allegations of maladministration or administrative corruption among other misconducts, pending the outcome of a forensic investigation which is now complete.