Bild challenges Guibeb

24 May 2019 | International

The German newspaper Bild has rubbished a claim by the Namibian ambassador to Germany, Andreas Guibeb, that no arrest warrant had been issued against him.

The newspaper published a facsimile of the warrant in its 22 May edition with a caption reading, “Hello Ambassador, today we show your warrant.”

The arrest warrant was issued by the Schönenberg district court in Berlin on 16 May.

The embarrassing tit-for-tat between Guibeb and Bild started when the paper reported on the outcome of a court case in which the diplomat was sued over unpaid bills. Guibeb owed Friedrich Schiller University €34 500 and a company called Diskurs Communication €46 410.

Bild said Guibeb was hiding behind his diplomatic immunity.

Bild was also incensed when Guibeb told Namibian media that the article on the court case was “fake news”.

In response to the German newspaper's initial report, Guibeb issued a three-page statement saying that it was the “dark side of the development cooperation business” and a “revengeful use of mafia-style fake news to blackmail diplomats to make ransom payments for frivolous claims that were not upheld in the courts of law”.

Guibeb claimed that the source of the Bild article was the legal representative of Diskurs Communication, Olaf Gutting, who is also a member of parliament of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

He said the report was “non-story fake news with clear propaganda intent against maybe the reparations talks between the German and Namibian governments”.

Guibeb further said the Diskurs Communication claim was dismissed with cost by the Berlin High Court and that there was no arrest warrant against him.

“Even if it existed, it could only have been obtained where the applicant misleads the court about the identity of the person against who claims were made,” Guibeb said.

Bild had pointed out that the arrest warrant could not be enforced because of Guibeb's diplomatic immunity.

Under the Vienna Convention of 1961 diplomats enjoy immunity against the courts of host countries, and criminal prosecutions or civil claims are not enforceable against them.

In the latest Bild article Gutten is quoted as saying that Guibeb's behaviour, as a representative of a nation that “repeatedly demands and receives special services from Germany”, was “especially annoying”.

Guibeb has not responded to the latest Bild article.

CATHERINE SASMAN