I owe no one - Guibeb

Namibian ambassador to Germany Andreas Guibeb says reports about debt are 'mafia style fake news'.

22 May 2019 | Local News

Namibian ambassador to Germany Andreas Guibeb has rejected a news report by German newspaper Bild that accused him of abusing his diplomatic status and running up debts of about 80 000 euro (N$1.2 million).

According to Guibeb the media report was engineered to undermine reparation talks about the 1904-08 German genocide against the Nama and Ovaherero. He emphasised he owes no one a cent.

Guibeb also rejected claims by the newspaper that a warrant of arrest had been issued for his failure to account for 34 500 euro that formed part of a research contract he had entered into with the Friedrich Schiller University in 2016 as the representative of an organisation called Friends of Namibia.

In a statement issued on his Facebook page Guibeb made it clear the report was part of the journalist's “mafia style fake news” to blackmail diplomats to make ransom payments for frivolous claims that do not hold up in a court of law.

“The Bild journalist was in receipt of my reply stating that neither the embassy of the Republic of Namibia nor the person of the ambassador will comment on confidential contracts between itself and its contracting parties in public,” Guibeb said.

He added the embassy and the ambassador are not authorised to provide information on legal disputes between public and private parties.

He said Bild too must respect the audio alteram partem rule, which states that all sides must be heard.

“If they did, they would have seen the claim for what it is, a non-story fake news with a clear propaganda intent against maybe the reparations talks between the German and Namibian governments (sic).”

Guibeb said Diskurs Communication offered public relations services to the embassy in 2016 to help promote investments and tourism to Namibia. Guibeb said he used his allowance to make four months of payments for the services.

He issued a notice of termination when the representational allowance for diplomats was stopped by government for cost-cutting reasons, and when the executive director of the international relations ministry informed the embassy in 2016 that it could not take over the PR expenses.

“That was and is the basis for the termination of the contract with Diskurs Communication, and the reason for the dispute and claim of Diskurs Communication, which seeks to enforce against the ambassador, personally, the claim for the additional payment, knowing that it could not succeed against the state.

“The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party member lawyer and his clients (Diskurs) failed to obtain that in court, as the Berlin court dismissed their claim with costs... Their claim was that payments should have continued for three months after the notification, even if no work was done in that time,” Guibeb wrote on Facebook.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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