Secret Kora settlement talks

09 October 2019 | Justice

A lawsuit stemming from the cancelled Kora Awards ceremony has been marked as “in camera” on the justice system portal, which means the media cannot report on it.

The Namibia Tourism Board, which is suing for more than N$23 million, is negotiating a settlement with the defendant, Mundial Telecom Sarl. Asked for comment, the deputy director in the division of public relations in the office of the judiciary, Ockert Jansen, explained that no court proceeding can take place in camera unless it meets the criteria stated in Article 12 of the Constitution.

“Parties engaged in litigation are, however, entitled, when engaged in settlement discussions, to keep aspects of those discussions secret, including details of any settlement reached.”

Jansen said the parties in this matter had expressed such wish to the presiding judge while engaged in settlement discussions.

According to Jansen the court considers it sound public policy to encourage settlement in order to avoid a matter going to court and therefore saving court time and resources.

He said if no settlement is reached, court proceedings will always be concluded in open court.

The NTB sued Mundial Telecom Sarl, Kora Awards founder Ernest Adjovi and Tonata Shiimi in September 2016 for N$23.5 million (plus 20% interest) which it had paid for a televised advertising package that was never broadcast because of the award show's cancellation.

Mundial Telecom owns the rights to host the Kora Awards while Adjovi acted as the president of the company and Shiimi was the national director of the awards.

Last year the High Court ruled that it does not have jurisdiction over Adjovi in his personal capacity.

The matter had been set for trial last week but the trial date was postponed until 9 November.

When contacted for comment, NTB CEO Digu //Naobeb told Namibian Sun that he was unaware of the case having been marked as in camera.

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has expressed shock, saying that the matter is about public funds and therefore should be transparent.

“I do not see any reason why this should be in camera. I instructed NTB to retrieve that money from those thieves, because that is what they are. It is theft. We want all that money back,” the minister said.

[email protected]

ELLANIE SMIT