Geingob promised us N$86m – Adjovi
07 May 2021 | Justice
President Hage Geingob was ‘disappointed’ by the reluctance of Namibian corporates to come on board and financially support the Kora All Africa Music Awards and promised organisers that he would be able to secure US$6 million (N$86 million at yesterday’s exchange rate) from ‘friends’, documents produced by Ernst Adjovi’s lawyers state.
The information is contained in a letter by Adjovi, the founder of the controversial awards, to then attorney general Sacky Shanghala.
“I said it to all of you at the State House when invited at a press conference that we are not Namibian and cannot source sponsorship in Namibia where we know nobody and that is why Mr [Tonata] Shiimi is with us,” Adjovi wrote.
“The same Tonata reported back to me in January that Mr President expressed disappointment as to the way corporates are not coming on board financially and then still according to Mr Shiimi, the president promised to get us the missing US$6 million from some friends - who I cannot mention here - for us.”
President Geingob has in the past denied, though his lawyer Sisa Namandje, any involvement in the Kora scandal, where N$30 million in public funds was lost.
The CEO of Namibian Tourism Board (NTB), Digu //Naobeb is the sole witness in the matter. His company lost N$23.5 million and is suing Adjovi to refund it.
Presiding over the matter between Mundial Telecom Sarl and NTB is Judge Herman Oosthuizen, who has rejected an application from the defence to have Adjovi testify virtually via Zoom. Due to logistical restraints, he is unable to travel to Namibia, his legal team told the court.
The matter dates back to September 2016 when NTB first sued Mundial, Adjovi and Shiimi for N$23.5 million - plus 20% interest - it paid for a ‘platinum’ promotional package which would advertise Namibia has a tourism destination during the awards ceremony, scheduled to take place on 20 March 2016.
Oosthuizen yesterday postponed the trial, which only started on Monday, to 31 May to give time for court records to be transcribed and heads of arguments to be filed.
//Naobeb yesterday stressed that NTB was not forced into signing an agreement with Mundial by government as has been suggested by the defence earlier in the week.
Questioned about the US$6 million agreement between government and Mundial with regards to the Kora awards and NTB’s US$1.5 million agreement with Mundial, //Naobeb said there are no links between the two.
According to the former agreement, government and Mundial would have collaborated to procure sponsorship packages in respect of the awards to the amount of US$6 million to be purchased by Namibian corporate entities.
The agreement between NTB and Mundial, signed 4 December 2015, was for the promotional package, and stipulated that payment of US$1.5 million should be made by 10 December 2015. NTB was first offered a promotional package of US$2 million, which it negotiated down to US$1.5 million.
Defence lawyer James Diedericks wanted to know how NTB arrived at the claimed amount of N$23.5 million, which //Naobeb said includes bank charges, levies and other bank fees when money was transferred to Mundial.
According to correspondence presented to court between Adjovi and //Naobeb, tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta and Shanghala, Adjovi on several occasions raised concern regarding why they had not received the full payment by 10 December 2015.
On 1 March 2016, after his agreement had already lapsed with government, he also wrote to Shanghala, putting the ball in government’s court on whether the event should be postponed or cancelled, saying promises were apparently made by Geingob to secure the remaining US$6 million.
Diedericks argued that - in essence - there was an agreement with government that if the US$6 million was not paid by 16 February, the awards ceremony would not take place.
//Naobeb, however, pointed out a clause in NTB’s contract which states: “This agreement constitutes the sole record of the agreement between the parties. No party shall be bound by any express, tacit or implied term, representation, warranty, promise or the like not recorded herein. This agreement supersedes and replaces all prior agreements, options, commitments, undertakings or representations, whether oral or written, between the parties.”