Andrew Kathindi

Former employees of the now defunct SME Bank are demanding over N$67 million from Government in payment at the value of 12 months’ salary.

According to the 208 former employees of the bank, the claim is supported by the recent decision by Finance Minister, Iipumbu Shiimi, to pay out Air Namibia employees’ salaries for one year.

The SME Bank employees received their termination of service letters on 25 July 2017, with some only receiving accrued annual leave days, pro-rata bonuses, severance pay and five years long service award for those eligible.

“There was no retrenchment package. Nothing at all, employees were treated as if they had resigned and paid out what they could have received under normal resignation.”

Shiimi, who was then Bank of Namibia Governor placed the SME Bank under curatorship in 2017 after N$200 million disappeared from the bank through a shoddy investment in South Africa.

The former employees of the SME Bank have turned to Government for a number of years now, including engaging President Hage Geingob, amid claims that they were head-hunted from leading banking institutions from which they were requested to hand in a 24-hour notices of resignation, claiming as a result they had no hopes of returning.

Public Enterprises Minister, Leon Jooste, yesterday told Windhoek Observer that Government would be paying Air Namibia employees a lump sum of their 12-month salary. However, he stated that the total cost of the payment was pending the outcome of discussions with the unions.