Chief justice enters Kora fray

17 October 2019 | Justice

The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) will convene on Monday to discuss growing calls for an investigation into why the Kora awards court matter was concealed from the public and documents relating to the case removed from the online e-justice portal.

The meeting was called by Chief Justice Peter Shivute, who is the chairperson of the JSC.

Sebastiaan Kandunda, who is Justice Shivute's special assistant and chief legal officer, yesterday confirmed to Namibian Sun that the Kora matter will serve before a JSC meeting on Monday.

The meeting will decide whether an investigation is warranted in the matter, as has been a clarion call by different stakeholders this week.

This follows clamouring for an investigation into why the matter was marked as “in camera” recently. Among the documents removed was an explosive affidavit in which Kora founder Ernest Adjovi placed President Hage Geingob at the centre of the deal to bring the awards show to Namibia. The event never materialised, while the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) had paid N$23 million for a promotion package.

President Geingob, responding to Namibian Sun last week, confirmed 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.

Businessman Tonata Shiimi, who was the national director of the awards, has also denied that he was instructed by Geingob to work with Adjovi to host the show in Namibia.





The Kora matter is serving before the High Court and is between the NTB and Mundial Telecom Sarl, which owns the rights to host the Kora awards, while Adjovi acted as the president of the company.



'Unlawful'

Meanwhile, the Namibian Law Association (NLA) has joined others in calling on the JSC or other component authorities to investigate the redaction of the entire contents of the Kora matter.

In a statement, the association said the action by the Office of the Registrar to deny public access was an act that is unlawful, wrongful and an undemocratic encroachment on civil liberties and the rights of citizens.

“We hold the considered opinion that the courts are an indispensable pillar to our constitutional democracy and any negative incursion on the court's image may have a tarnishing effect on public trust and confidence invested therein, as well as the constitutional mandate to dispense justice for all,” the NLA said.

It said the concealment of court matters has a negative effect on public confidence in the sacrosanct institution of the judiciary.

“The association believes that this can under no circumstance be compromised, for to do so would erode the authority of our judiciary in our peoples' eyes.”

According to the association, the constitution guarantees that every person enjoys equality before the law. Therefore, the social status of any of the parties or persons mentioned in a civil matter should never serve as a basis to deny access to the public to court process or documents, unless so provided in provisions of legal instruments, the NLA said.

The association said the incident raises a reasonable lingering suspicion and valid fears of either a recurrence in the future or yet undiscovered similar occurrences.

It therefore called for a proper inquiry by the JSC and or the Office of the Ombudsman into the propriety of processes and powers of the registrar in terms of the redaction of court matters. It also called for measures to be implemented to prevent a recurrence.

[email protected]

ELLANIE SMIT

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