Windhoek City Police chief Abraham Kanime’s 2020 employment contract, which has been clouded in controversy, was the focal point on Friday during a lawsuit in which his employer wants him to pay back the income earned.
The city council wants the High Court to order Kanime to pay back the salary
he was paid as a result of an unlawful employment contract that he was purportedly given in April 2020.
The council is claiming nearly N$4.5 million in remuneration and N$906 804 in motor-vehicle allowances that the city had paid Kanime over a period of three years.
They also want a return of the monthly N$40 490 he was paid as housing allowance during the same period.
On top of the money that the council wants to be returned, they also seek a review and setting aside of the management council’s decisions taken on 28 and 29 April 2020. These decisions include the appointment of Pahukeni Titus as acting CEO, as well as a decision to extend Kanime’s contract for another three years.
The management committee at the time comprised Fransina Kahungu as chairperson, and Moses Shikwa, Loide Kaiyamo,
Emmanuel Paulus, Teckla Uuwanga, Ian Subasubani, Priska Kahuure, Ananias Niizimba, Hileni Ulumbu and Agatha Ashilelo. In April 2020, New Era reported that Kanime, who resigned from his position on 30 January 2020, was furnished with a new employment contract. It was said he had landed a three-year contract worth about N$6.6 million.
Kanime’s pay package included a yearly basic salary of at least N$1.4 million, car allowance of N$302 000, housing allowance of N$492 000, and an additional annual
bonus of N$116 000.
Council documents indicated at the time that he was handed the new contract to avoid uncertainty and a leadership vacuum at the City Police.
On Friday, the city’s lawyer Patrick Kauta argued that the issue at hand is the interpretation of the High Court’s order of 19 November 2020.
In the said order, Judge Thomas Masuku ordered that the settlement agreement reached between Kanime and the council on 19 November 2020 be
made an order of court.
According to the agreement, “Council shall appoint the 10th respondent (Kanime) and/or another as Police Chief regularly, as per regulation 5(1) of the Regulations of the Municipal Services made under the Police Act, 19 of 1990”.
Kauta said the order invalidates council’s resolutions of 29 April 2020.
“It also invalidates the employment contract of the applicant signed on 30 April 2020,” he contended.
The lawyer argued that the order directs that the process starts afresh in a rightful manner because the initial
process through which Kanime was awarded the employment contract in April 2020 was unlawful – although the order did not “expressly” declare that.
Thus, Kanime must pay back the money, as it was paid to him under the “unlawful” employment contract of 30 April 2020.
However, Kanime’s lawyer, Sisa Namandje, said Masuku’s order does not set aside the council’s resolutions of 29 April 2020, nor does it invalidate
Kanime’s employment contract.
He noted that the relief that would invalidate council’s resolutions in
relation to Kanime’s employment contract was not incorporated into the settlement agreement which was made a court order by Masuku.
According to Namandje, Kanime is employed on a fixed three-year contract, through which he renders his services and is meant to be compensated accordingly.
“The fact that the applicant (Kanime) worked for three years is irreversible. Therefore, restitutio will be a legal impossibility because the applicant for three years, on the instructions of the 1st respondent (Council), carried out his work as an employee, and had to be paid as a matter of law,” submitted Namandje.
He added that the application makes no sense, as the council continues to use Kanime’s services as chief of the City Police. Thus, he maintained, the application must be dismissed.
Judge Hannelie Prinsloo is expected to deliver her verdict on 29 May.