Former NSFAF CEO accused minister of pressurising board to fire her

Erasmus Shalihaxwe

Hilya Nghiwete, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF), has accused Minister of Higher Education, Training, and Innovation Itah Kandji-Murangi of pressuring NSFAF board members to fire her for no reason.

Nghiwete said this in a letter addressed to Kandji-Murangi dated 16 April seen by the Windhoek Observer.

The letter includes President Nangolo Mbumba, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, and Swapo Secretary General Sophia Shaningwa on the carbon copy list.

When contacted on Monday to confirm if she is indeed the author of the letter, Nghiwete promised to call back, but she never did at the time of publishing this story.

In the letter, she stated that in 2017, Kandji-Murangi wrote to the then minister of public enterprises, Leon Jooste, asking him for advice on how to fire her (Nghiwete).

“You had been giving the previous board, especially the chairperson, pressure to fire me. The chairperson has disclosed this to a common friend, Armas Amukwiyu, that “The minister is giving me pressure to fire Hilya.” Again, Tjouro informed the Chief Financial Officer, James Nyandoro that the Minister is pressuring us to fire Nghiwete, but I have informed her to give us a chance to find our own wrongdoings. According to Tjiouroo a board member of the new board, the minister wanted Nghiwete fired because of the wrong statistics. But the custodian of stats at NSFAF is Kandume, who was favoured as the acting CEO,” said Nghiwete.

She added that Kandji-Murangi humiliated her on the day of inaugurating the new board of directors led by Jerome Mutumba.

She alleges that the minister requested that her personal assistant send a message to Nghiwete not to attend the inauguration of the new board, even though, by the provisions of the NSFAF Act, the CEO is one of the board members.

“Instead, you have invited the NSFAF manager in attendance to distribute the fake vote of no-confidence report. I decided to attend the inauguration because your invitation to me to attend was in writing, and I cannot rely on the WhatsApp message from your personal assistant. When you saw me, you lost yourself and were nervous and fuming,” she alluded.

Nghiwete further stated that in 2017, the minister organised a workshop with no “agenda” at a local hotel, which put Nghiwete on the spot with the consultant, only identified as Mathew, to stand up and give an account of NSFAF and answer questions that were prepared for the minister by some NSFAF management.

“Thank God I mastered my job so well that I can tell you the story of NSFAF with my eyes closed. Your consultant later during the break told me, ‘Hilya, your off-the-cuff presentation was impressive’. Again, all this was done to humiliate me among my staff and other CEOs in the sector, but fortunately, I knew my work so well that no one could embarrass me. The report you wrote informing all the high offices, among others, has untruthful information, some of them is that I refused to be put on contract and I refused to change the act on NSFAF,” she said.

She claimed that she was never presented with the proposal for a contract and that she came across board minutes where Ntinda is questioning his fellow board members as to why a contract of the CEO is discussed by a few board members and not the whole board.

Nghiwete said she never refused to change the Act of NSFAF.

“How can we make changes for students at private institutions not to be supported by NSFAF when those kids are Namibians and some of their parents pay taxes,” expressed Nghiwete.

Kandji-Murangi did not respond to questions sent to her, nor did she pick up phone calls to her mobile number.

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