Broke NIP pays suspended bosses N$5.8m

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

STRUGGLING state-owned entity, Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) has splurged more than N$5 million on five suspended executives over the past year.

NIP, which in 2018 needed a government bailout of N$30 million, has spent N$5.8 million over the past 17 months to five of its top officials, who were suspended on allegations of mismanagement, fraud and corruption.
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This flies in the face of NIP’s reluctance to give junior employees a salary increment that they have been demanding since 2018. In October last year, NIP employees demanded a ten percent salary hike effective from April 2019, as well as N$200 transport allowance and housing allowance of 35% of basic salary.

According to confidential NIP documents reviewed by Confidente, NIP spends about N$87,898 a month on each executive, which translates to around N$1.05 million per year.

The five managers have been on suspension pending a disciplinary hearing from July 2018 to date. They are meanwhile receiving their full monthly salaries, NIP acting chief executive officer David Uirab said in response to questions raised.

The five suspended executives are Valerie Garises, (chief technology officer), Harold Kaura (chief operations officer), Cleophas Mbahijona (chief financial officer), Jennifer Kauapirura (chief strategy and business development officer) and Monika Pendukeni (chief human capital officer).

It is not yet clear when the disciplinary hearings, that have been ongoing since December 2018, will be completed but it is understood that NIP has appointed an independent panel to finalise the process.

“The disciplinary hearings are ongoing. We wish to finish soon, however, the challenge we have is that sometimes the lawyers representing the executives don’t have enough time as they have to attend to other cases in court,” Uirab said.

Without mentioning names, he added that some of the five executives have appealed the verdict in their cases. Confidente through independent sources was able to establish that the executives that appealed include Kauaperira, Kaura and Mbahijona who were apparently dismissed from the company last September.

The three were reportedly found guilty of gross negligence and were fired following a long disciplinary process, which started late in 2018 and dragged on until September 2019.

Kauapirura was the first to be shown the door around May last year while Kaura and Mbahijona were booted from their positions three months before the end of 2019.
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They then appealed to have their dismissal overturned, but to no success.

Asked how far her disciplinary hearing has proceeded, Garises declined to comment, saying queries should be put to NIP. “Talk to my employer. I am not allowed to talk about the matter.” The other four suspended and dismissed officials could not be reached for comment this week.