The legal tussle between prominent medical doctor Tshali Ithete and his former employer, the Ongwediva Medipark, is seemingly far from over. The two parties are currently locked in negotiations on how to resolve two cases in which they are suing each other over unsettled claims. The hospital wants Ithete to pay back more than N$1.1 million he allegedly owes the facility for unauthorised expenditures between March 2014 and January 2020.
However, Ithete claims the hospital breached their service agreement, so he is entitled to N$2.3 million for services his employees rendered to the facility between 2018 and 2022. The parties will meet with the mediator on 12 October to try to settle the matter out of court.
However, should the negotiations fail, the matter will revert to the High Court for resolution.
The hospital is claiming it entered into a service agreement with Ithete when he was appointed as managing director. The contract was to run from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2016. The contract was orally extended for an indefinite period.
Based on that agreement, the hospital agreed to pay Ithete N$1.3 million per annum.
That package is inclusive of his salary, contributions towards his medical aid, pension fund, and social security.
The agreement further stipulated that the hospital would pay 50% of the salaries and medical aid of Ithete’s medical employees.
“The defendant agreed that due to the nature of the position and related functions, it would be more favourable to receive the monthly package in arrears,” said the hospital lawyer Elize Yssel.
Furthermore, remunerations for all hours worked including overtime will be deducted from his salary. At the time when the contract was renewed orally with the same conditions, a new clause was added that Ithete was to employ medical doctors whose salaries would be paid from his salary package. “Part of the arrangement entailed that all unrecovered salary payments made by the plaintiff (Medipark) in respect of locums so appointed by the defendant (Ithete) but which were not recovered would be charged on the defendant’s loan account,” said Yssel.
During an audit in 2020, the hospital allegedly discovered that Ithete breached their contract as there were unauthorised expenditures. They also discovered that a large sum was used to pay medical personnel hired by Ithete from time to time. Thus, the hospital claims Ithete owes them N$1 135 662.79.
Ithete has since denied the claims. According to him, the agreement states the hospital was to pay 50% towards the salaries of the medical personnel he would hire. “The plaintiff has failed to pay 50% of the salaries of the defendant’s staff from 2018 to 2022. The plaintiff also committed numerous breaches of the agreement such as unlawfully creating a loan account in its ledger to justify deducting benefits due to the defendant in terms of the oral agreement,” said Ithete’s lawyer Petrus Elago. He said the hospital needs to vehemently prove that he breached the contract and now owes the hospital money to the unsettled loan account.
Ithete also claims that the hospital breached the oral and written contract between them in respect of the salary to be paid to a doctor he had hired.
The doctor worked from 3 October 2016 to 3 October 2021 and was supposed to earn a gross salary of N$61 800 per month.
The hospital allegedly failed to pay their 50% share to the said employee as per their agreement.
Ithete further claims the hospital also did not pay their portion to another employee for a period of 56 months.
The hospital’s contribution to this employee is N$10 868 per month. Thus, in total, the hospital owes him an amount of N$2 349 867.16, he said. Earlier this year, The Namibian reported Ithete was dismissed from his position as the hospital’s managing director after he was found guilty of fraud, dishonesty, gross negligence, and charges relating to non-disclosure of interest.
The dismissal was a result of a disciplinary hearing which started in 2018. - email@example.com