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Board Responds to Inaccurate Media Report

Posted by: In: News 02 Sep 2014 Comments: 0

18 August 2014

The Namibia Training Authority’s Board of Directors, at a media conference held at NTA Village today, responded to allegations and inaccurate information contained in a report published in local daily, The Namibian, under the headline “NTA ‘offers’ to pay off former boss”.

Below the full statement issued by the Board of Directors and signed by the Chairperson, Otto.N. Shikongo and Deputy Chairperson, Hilya Nghiwete.

Objective: To brief stakeholders on the position of the NTA Board of Directors in relation to allegations published in local daily, The Namibian, on 08 August 2014.

1. After considering the findings of a forensic investigation by Ernst & Young at the NTA in 2012, the Board of Directors decided to take applicable action and commenced disciplinary proceedings against the CEO, Mrs Maria Nangolo-Rukoro. The Board as such resolved to suspend her, with full pay, effective February 2013, on charges as were issued to her. This decision was taken in line with the mandate of the Board and in the interest of the organisation and the Namibian nation at large
2. The disciplinary hearing commenced on 17 April 2013.
3. In line with the objectives of Namibia’s labour regime to endeavor to resolve disputes between employer and employee internally, BOTH parties, through their respective representatives, agreed on 05 August 2014, to attempt and see whether they could agree on a resolution of the dispute.
4. The arrangement made on 05 August 2014 was due to, inter alia, but not limited to the magnitude of the charges; high legal and related costs for both parties related to the number of hearing days (approximately 22 days to date); and the possibility that the disciplinary proceedings might take another eight to ten months to be concluded. 
The disciplinary proceedings are expected to take that long due to numerous witnesses still to testify to test the findings of the Ernst & Young forensic investigation report, as well as the availability of such witnesses (of whom a significant number are not employed by the NTA) and the respective parties’ representatives.
5. The matter not proceeding on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 was based on a joint decision by both parties’ representatives, as it was anticipated that any discussion along the line of settlement, as well as any decisions reached pursuant thereto, would take a substantial period of time.
6. No ruling was ever made that the Ernst & Young report was declared invalid; that key evidence was thrown out; and that the report was ‘downgraded’ in any manner.
7. No offer to pay out the CEO’s remuneration for the remainder of her contract term, or any other monetary offer, was ever discussed, or made, NEITHER during the week of 4-8 August 2014, NOR previously, by the NTA and/or its Board.
8. On 06 August 2014, the CEO, through her representatives, proposed for the upliftment of her suspension, which proposal was rejected categorically, by the Board.
9. On the request of the CEO’s representatives, months earlier, the matter did not continue on 04 August 2014, as the CEO’s counsel was engaged in a different matter.
10. The expiry of the term of the current Board would not influence the disciplinary process at all. All Board members expected to testify have indicated their willingness to do so, even after the expiry of their terms.
11. The NTA intends to proceed with the disciplinary process against the CEO.
12. The NTA board is considering its options in respect of the newspaper and the reporter who published damaging, inaccurate and baseless information.

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