Huge blow for insurance firms

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein has welcomed the ruling by the Supreme Court last week.

03 June 2019 | Business

Eight insurance companies that are challenging the constitutionality of a law requiring them to do business with the state-owned Namibia National Reinsurance Corporation (NamibRe), were dealt a severe blow in their ongoing legal battle with finance minister Calle Schlettwein in the Supreme Court last week.

The court ruled that the minister and NamibRe may appeal a judgement that was delivered on the matter by High Court judge Thomas Masuku in September last year.

Schlettwein and NamibRe dragged Hollard Insurance Company of Namibia Limited, Hollard Life Namibia Limited, Sanlam Namibia Limited, Santam Namibia Limited, Trustco Insurance Limited, Trustco Life Limited, Outsurance Insurance Company of Namibia Limited, Old Mutual Life Assurance Company Namibia Limited and their respective CEOs to court after they refused to re-insure a percentage of their insurance premiums with NamibRe, in defiance of the legislation.

In his judgment, Masuku had ordered that the implementation of constitutionally-questioned parts of the NamibRe Act, and regulations and government notices issued in terms of it near the end of 2017, would be suspended until pending legal challenges against the law have been finalised.

Schlettwein and NamibRe then filed an application for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court, but Masuku dismissed their request.

A petition was then filed at the Supreme Court to ask for permission to appeal against Masuku's decision. However, acting appeal judge Theo Frank refused the petition near the end of January this year.

This led to an application to the Supreme Court, based on complaints by Schlettwein and NamibRe that Frank should not have dealt with the case, as he represented insurance companies in a prior litigation.

Schlettwein welcomed the ruling by the Supreme Court in a statement last week.

“It is an important step in strengthening reinsurance in Namibia and ending the current outflows of reinsurance premiums from the domestic economy,” he said.

According to the finance ministry the Supreme Court has upheld, with costs, the government's application to set aside - on grounds of a reasonable perception of bias - a ruling made by Frank.

“Acting Justice Theo Frank, the Supreme Court held, had ties to the insurance industry which were such that he should not have sat in the matter. These ties include arguing for insurers in an unsuccessful constitutional litigation and his current chairmanship of the Nedlife holding company, which is one of the litigants in the main proceedings,” the ministry said.

Having reached these conclusions, the Supreme Court said it was satisfied that the test for recusal had been met, according to the ministry.

The ministry said that Frank was required to disclose his interests to the parties, but had not done so.

“Given these conclusions, the court held it was unnecessary to consider further aspects raised, including that as a director and now chairman of companies in the industry, Judge Frank was still receiving substantial emoluments while sitting in the matter. He had also served for years on the Trustco board.”

In the second part of the ruling, the Supreme Court reversed Frank's dismissal of government's application for leave to appeal against Masuku's ruling last year. In the judgment by Justice Petrus Damaseb, with which justices Elton Hoff and Bess Nkabinde concurred, the court described the government's prospects of success as more than reasonable.

The finance ministry said the appeal will be heard as soon as it can be enrolled.

ELLANIE SMIT

Similar News

 

Kärcher Centre Taurus opens its doors

13 hours ago | Business

Windhoekers have been in for a treat since the past Saturday when the first fully fledged Kärcher Centre in Southern Africa outside of South Africa...

Uganda, Zambia deny Huawei spying allegations

13 hours ago | Business

Kampala - Uganda and Zambia on Friday denied a report that employees of Chinese telecom giant Huawei had helped them spy on political opponents.The Wall...

Vetkoek court fight postponed

13 hours ago | Business

Yanna Smith - The High Court matter in which Namib Mills has sued Bokomo Namibia for “dishonest practises in industrial or commercial matters” was postponed...

Import VAT exemption on certain feed products

13 hours ago | Business

The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) approached the department of inland revenue to exempt certain animal feed products by Namibian farmers from import value-added tax (VAT)....

Company news in brief

13 hours ago | Business

Sasol delays results due to project glitchSouth Africa's Sasol Ltd delayed the release of its annual financial results on Friday due to possible "control weaknesses"...

The underexplored gold mine of public relations

3 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

Aurelia DavidPublic relations (PR) is a function of many facets and PR practitioners are expected to evolve along with the different technologies that they require...

Leading IT innovation

3 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

Mariselle Stofberg Vincent Weyulu is a picture of determination. At 26 years old has proven that age is just a number when you are determined...

An agent fighting against financial crime

3 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

Over the last few decades financial crime has increasingly become a concern to financial institutions. It has become widely recognised that the prevalence of economically...

Engineering sparks Kahima

3 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

Elizabeth JosephSarah Kahima’s choice of pursuing a degree in electrical engineering has a lot to do with what sparked an interest In her while she...

Illegal fuel restricts local development

3 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

The ministry of mines and energy has warned motorists against refuelling their vehicles with “illegal fuel” as it hampers economic development.The ministry’s acting economist in...

Latest News

Kärcher Centre Taurus opens its...

13 hours ago | Business

Windhoekers have been in for a treat since the past Saturday when the first fully fledged Kärcher Centre in Southern Africa outside of South Africa...

Defence spends half a billion...

13 hours ago | Economics

The ministry of defence spent about N$491.7 million for three consecutive financial years without the approval of Treasury.This is in direct contravention of the State...

Daily grind

13 hours ago | Labour

Even though most of Namibia's more than 72 000 domestic workers earn above the minimum N$1 502 a month, close to 80% of them say...

Corpses rot in homes

13 hours ago | Health

Unregistered deaths, including infant mortalities, and corpses being left to rot in homes over weekends, are just some of the challenges being faced by the...

Young mom hacked to death

13 hours ago | Crime

A 23-year-old woman was brutally murdered this past Friday in Kavango West, allegedly by her long-time boyfriend, who hacked her to death with an axe...

It was tough - Tomas

13 hours ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI Namibian long-distance runners Rainhold Tomas and Alina Armas are the winners of the 19th edition of the Old Mutual Victory Race in the...

Uganda, Zambia deny Huawei spying...

13 hours ago | Business

Kampala - Uganda and Zambia on Friday denied a report that employees of Chinese telecom giant Huawei had helped them spy on political opponents.The Wall...

Vetkoek court fight postponed

13 hours ago | Business

Yanna Smith - The High Court matter in which Namib Mills has sued Bokomo Namibia for “dishonest practises in industrial or commercial matters” was postponed...

Import VAT exemption on certain...

13 hours ago | Business

The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) approached the department of inland revenue to exempt certain animal feed products by Namibian farmers from import value-added tax (VAT)....

Load More