Setback for Reho TC
Case adjourned to 27 April
Rehoboth's town council has 15 days from the court order being issued to amend their objections, otherwise the case will be thrown out.The Rehoboth town council’s(RTC) claim of about N$1.6 million against a former employee was rejected in the high court in Windhoek last week.
Council claimed that the employee, who resigned in 2015 but was reappointed although the appointment was withdrawn again in 2018, was illegal and was unlawfully enriched by about N$1.6 million.
The defendant's legal objections to the council's plea were granted and the objection was thrown out.
According to the ruling, the council's affidavit did not prove that the defendant acted illegally when he was reappointed or when he received the money.
Although it can be considered a major setback, Judge Dinnah Usiku gave the council 15 days from the court order to amend their statement and resubmit.
The case was adjourned until April 27.
The RTC employee gave notice of his resignation on 24 February 2015 and all his benefits were paid to him on his last day, 30 June 2015.
A month later, the employee lodged a case of unfair dismissal at the office of the Labour Commission, claiming that he had only given notice that he was planning to resign and never really resigned.
In December 2015, the new council was appointed at a meeting that was allegedly not held in accordance with the regulations of the Local Government Act. During this meeting, the employee in question was reappointed to his previous position.
The employee's pension fund, leave days and student loan were restored to the level before his resignation. He even asked for N$15 000 to repair his vehicle, because his insurance policy had lapsed, as well as a refund of about N$1.1 million for his mortgage policy cover, which lapsed due to non-payment due to his resignation.
"He was paid about N$215 000 in December 2015, in addition to a pension contribution of about N$27 000 and Social Security Commission contribution of N$486 for that month," read court documents.
The employee returned to work in January 2016.
"The plaintiff further made third-party payments of N$83 000 on behalf of the defendant on 4 February 2016," reads the city council's statement.
After the Ministry of Rural and Urban Development investigated the reappointment, they found it was unlawful and ordered that the reappointment be withdrawn. The employee was let go in March 2018.
"From January 2016 to March 2018, the defendant earned about N$1.1 million, in addition to pension contributions of about N$135 000, Social Security Commission contribution of N$2 200 and medical aid contribution of about N$58 000," the court documents read.
Council demanded in their objection, that if the employee is unable to repay the money, the court must issue an order that the money is deducted from his pension fund and paid to them.
Usiku said in the ruling that in her opinion it was the internal management of the board that resulted in the reappointment of the employee.
"The statement also does not contain any allegation that the employee was aware of or was in any way complicit in the alleged irregularity of his reappointment," the ruling reads.
According to Usiku, the application could only be successful if the payment of the money was not legal, but in the objection, the plaintiff states that the money was paid over to the defendant for "services rendered".
"In my opinion, the plaintiff's statement does not disclose a cause of action against the defendant and the defendants' grounds for exception are therefore upheld."