“I was sabotaged” – Nghiwete on missing NSFAF records

Eba Kandovazu

FORMER Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF), Hilya Nghiwete, says she was sabotaged by her subordinates, who she says were responsible for the operations of NSFAF, adding that they were not doing their jobs.

“It was a set up because they wanted me to fail and whatever little things I have done now they are claiming credit for it. The records are available in black and white that they were responsible,” Nghiwete says adding
she alone cannot be blamed for the fund’s downfall.

“I had people working under me because they were qualified. I had a company Secretary with legal background, Senior Manager of Operations, who is now the current Acting CEO, I had a Chief Human Capital, Chief Information Officer, I had a Chief Financial Officer. I cannot alone be responsible for such a system that is paying almost everyone N$1.4 million,” she emphasises.

Nghiwete’s response pertains to a public hearing on the Fund’s audit report today, before the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts. Nghiwete was not in attendance although an invite was sent to her. Responding to this, Nghiwete says she was informed on short notice and could thus not attend as she was outside Windhoek.

“That is discrimination. Now that I am not in the institution for almost four years, I must be called a day before to come and assist to answer,” she adds also claiming that the current CEO, who was the Senior Manager of Operations during her tenure, was responsible for awarding of loans, payments of loans, recovery of loans and student care services.

“The information he gave today at the public hearing is not entirely correct,” she says.

The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts, Themistokles Murorua, says Nghiwete should account for the missing 2011 to 2013 debtors records at the Fund, adding that she was supposed to have migrated with the records when the Fund disintegrated from the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation (MHETI).

Addressing the NSFAF’s mamangement today on its audit report, says Nghiwete, who at the time was the Under Permanent Secretary in the MHETI, was responsible for the records. The Committee, which addressing burning questions to the NSFAF management, demands answers on a number of issues concerning the soon-to-be Student Funding Department in the MHETI.

The hearing was also attended by Deputy Auditor General, Goms Menette and the Deputy Board Chairperson, who is also the Chairperson of the Audit and Risk Committee at NSFAF, Stephen Tjiuoro, and other officials. NSFAF Acting CEO, Kennedy Kandume, explains that the current management was ‘surprised’ to learn that Nghiwete had written a letter to the Ministry requesting for records in 2014, adding that she ought to have had that information.

“These are things the board and the Audit Risk Committee at the company could have investigated. As a committee, we do not just have hearings on any issues. Something must have happened. We convene hearings on adverse audit opinions. It is either internal audit processes were not followed. Unless you explain that, maybe your personnel in the Finance Department are not well qualified. The big question is, were you funding students directly to the banks without any documents? You have to inform this committee,” Murorua questions.

Kandume, in response to the queries, says the last audit made when the Fund was still under the Ministry was between 2009-2010. According to him, no audit reports exist for the period 2011 to 2013.

“When the Auditor General came to audit, they needed the financials of 2009/2010. We did not have reports so we constructed financials from banks statements. Anything else we did not have. These are our efforts. We wrote letters to the ministry and physically went there,” Kandume says.

“We want to see. We are very concerned on the transmission of NSFAF. We want to see if the records are available so we audit them,” Deputy Auditor General, Menette, remarks.

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