WINDHOEK - The Namibia Law Association (NLA) has added its voice to the ongoing Kora saga, following an attempt by the judiciary to block access to court documents on the e-justice portal last week.
The NTB is suing Mundial Telecom, founder Ernst Adjovi and his local business partner Tonata Shiimi in a bid to recover N$23.5 million that the parastatal paid towards the hosting of the Kora awards, which Namibia was supposed to host in 2016.
However, documents linked to the controversial court case were marked as “in camera” and not accessible to members of the media and public. The documents were later restored following sustained pressure from activist Job Amupanda who had threatened to legally challenge the concealment of the matter, which included witness statements by Adjovi, Shiimi and NTB CEO Digu //Naobeb. In a statement, the Namibia Law Association said the attempt to cover-up the matter has a negative effect on public confidence on the judiciary.
“The NLA believes that this can under no circumstances be compromised, for to do so would erode the authority of our judiciary on our people’s eyes,” the statement read, emphasising further that everyone should be treated equally before the law as guaranteed in the Namibian constitution.
“Therefore, the social status of any of the parties or persons participating or mentioned in any civil matter should never serve as a basis to deny access to the public of court processes or documents, unless so provided in provisions of the legal instruments.”
According to NLA, the decision by the Office of the Registrar to deny public access of a pending matter in court, is an “act that is unlawful, wrongful and undemocratic encroachment on civil liberties and rights of citizen”.
In papers filed in the Windhoek High Court, //Naobeb in his witness statement, indicated that NTB first paid the Adjovi-owned company N$5 million on 22 December 2015, and a further N$5 million the next day.
On 7 January 2016, an amount of N$5 million was paid to Mundial Telecom. A final payment of about N$8.5 million was paid on 17 February 2016, just weeks before Namibia was scheduled to host the awards ceremony on 20 March 2016. The NTB had signed a so-called Platinum Tourism Promotion Package with Mundial Telecom, which guaranteed 26 promotional television clips to be shown on each participating African country’s public television station for two months prior to the ceremony.
The agreement also included the NTB getting a front, middle and back row tickets for very important persons. The NTB was also promised at least 150 gallery seats and a space allocation in the Kora magazine.
However, //Naobeb argued that the organisers of the Kora awards breached the agreement after failing to host the ceremony as scheduled, while they also failed to deliver the Platinum Promotion Package.