Nlanda's legal battle with UB continues

UB admin block
UB admin block

A case in which suspended University of Botswana Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration) Mendel Ngoni Nlanda wants the university interdicted from holding a disciplinary hearing against him is set to continue today.

The matter was scheduled for argument before Gaborone Industrial Court Justice Annah Mathiba. However, it seems the two parties have settled on a consent draft order to be made an order of the court today.

It is said that the parties have agreed that the disciplinary hearing against Nlanda should not take place, with the institution also consenting to bear the cost of suit.

According to court papers, the University’s Vice Chancellor Professor David Norris suspended Nlanda in March 8, 2019 over allegations of persistent wilful neglect of duties and refusal to take lawful orders.

Among the several offences that Norris proffered against the Vice Chancellor since 2018 include ignoring an order by the Executive Management Team that all proposed procurement plans be tabled and approved at EMT meetings before being advertised.

The other count is failing to approve financial statements held by the cash flow, failing to adhere to the set deadline to distribute the said cash flow to members by November 26, 2018 contrary to instructions from the Chairperson of the Audit Committee of Council Verily Molatedi.

It is also said that on or about November 19, 2018 the Nlanda failed or neglected to collate and submit on time some data as asked by the Vice Chancellor, which had been requested by the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology. Such information included the approved staff establishments, the cost of the approved staff establishment and the current staffing cost based on staff in post.

In another count, he is said to have entered into an agreement with three recognised UB unions that all government directives on adjustments of salaries are binding on the University and should be implemented without variation and that a three percent salary adjustment inclusive of all arrears retrospective to April 1, 2016 should be granted to university employees while in the process exposing the university to potential litigation and associated high costs.

It was against the several charges that Nlanda was summoned to appear for disciplinary hearing on October 22, 2019. 

However, he lodged a case at the Industrial Court seeking an interdict against the disciplinary proceedings arguing that the university has waived its right to take disciplinary action against him based on the charges as it has failed to levy the charges promptly as required by the university rules.

He also said that he has serious and ethical issues in the manner that the disciplinary hearing is handled because they would be handled by Staff Disciplinary Committee, which is appointed by the Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor.

He argued that a committee that he appoints together with the supervisor could not preside over this matter, as it would result in unfairness.

He said in the alternative, the University Council should handle his disciplinary matter.

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