Shiimi breaks silence on Kora saga

16 October 2019 | Justice

Businessman Tonata Shiimi says he did not receive any payment for activities related to plans to host the Kora music awards in Namibia, but confirms he was the national director for the awards show that never came to pass.

The ceremony never took place despite the state-owned Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) having paid over N$23 million for an advertising package that was to be screened as part of the show.

It is on this basis that NTB is suing Kora kingpin Ernst Adjovi, Mundial Telecom and Shiimi.

Shiimi said he is no longer a party to the lawsuit following a court order in May this year in which NTB withdrew its case against him. But in papers filed with the High Court in September, Shiimi is still cited as a respondent in the matter.

In a statement this week, Shiimi said there was no basis - in law or otherwise - to have him as a respondent in the matter, as the contract in question was between NTB and Adjovi and his companies.

“I never entered into a contractual agreement with [NTB] and therefore I had no obligation to NTB whatsoever,” he said.

Shiimi said his responsibilities were to engage stakeholders, secure sponsorships and assume all local stage-management functions for the event. “In the three years following the summons, my lawyers wrote on two separate occasions… reminding them that there was no legal basis for NTB to sue me and therefore to withdraw the matter against me as a third defendant, but to no avail,” he said. Adjovi, in court papers that were initially hidden from the public and the press, claims his close friendship with President Hage Geingob directly led to the signing of agreements to bring the awards show to Namibia. President Geingob, responding to Namibian Sun last week, confirmed that he supported holding the Kora awards in Namibia, but denied having acted in a manner that resulted in the loss of public funds in the matter.

Shiimi denies he was instructed by Geingob to work with Adjovi to host the show in Namibia.

“Never once was I directed by Dr Geingob to get engaged in the Kora project, to represent him in any way, shape or form or to be a conduit of some sort on any project.”

Shiimi did not explain how he secured the contract for the Kora job.