Kora dirty laundry to be aired next week

The controversial continental music awards which never came to pass – and through which the taxpayer lost N$30 million – is set to go to trial next week.

29 April 2021 | Justice

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

A controversial legal battle involving millions of dollars lost in an aborted music awards show is finally set to go to trial next week.

The Windhoek High Court case between the Namibian Tourism Board (NTB) and Mundial Telecom Sarl regarding the Kora Music Awards, which has been on the cards since 2016, has been set for Monday, 3 May, to Friday, 7 May.

According to the latest court order - issued on 12 April following a pre-trial status hearing, parties confirmed that the matter is “ripe for hearing”, and NTB will commence with the proceedings.

The assigned judge is Herman Oosthuizen.

NTB CEO Digu //Naobeb told Namibian Sun yesterday that they are in the process of preparing for the trial.

NTB sued Mundial Telecom Sarl, Kora awards founder Ernest Adjovi and Tonata Shiimi in September 2016 for N$23.5 million - plus 20% interest - which it paid for the purchase of a ‘Platinum Tourism Package’ it never received.

The package was meant to ensure promotional content about Namibia being aired across Africa during the awards show.

Mundial owns the rights to host the Kora Awards, while Adjovi acted as the president of the company and Shiimi was the awards’ national director.

Shiimi has previously said he was removed from the lawsuit; however, according to the latest court order, he is still listed as a respondent.

Suspicious

In 2019, the matter was also set for trial, but was postponed until NTB’s representing lawyer Kaijata Kangueehi’s term as an acting judge ended.

The case was then suddenly marked as ‘in-camera’ on the justice system.

Generally, in-camera describes court cases where the public and press are not allowed to observe the process.

All documentation and information regarding the court case - which stretches back to 2016 - was also removed from the justice system at the time.

Among the documents, which were later restored to the e-justice portal after legal threats, was an explosive affidavit penned by Adjovi, which placed President Hage Geingob at the centre of the signing of agreements to the bring the awards show to Namibia.

Adjovi had also lifted the veil on his intense friendship with Geingob, which had resulted in the agreements being signed.

The president, however, rejected the claims made in the court papers.

Sacky again

Meanwhile, it was revealed that former attorney-general Sacky Shanghala was involved in the removal of conditions in the Kora awards deal that would have protected government from losing N$23 million in the scandal.

Documents showed that Shanghala removed suspensive conditions from the agreement between NTB and Mundial regarding the hosting of the awards in Namibia.

Suspensive conditions are criteria that must be met for a contract to come into force.

The removed conditions meant the agreement would have been subject to the fulfilment of these conditions.

The Kora Awards was initially scheduled to take place on 13 December 2015, but was then postponed.

As per a contract signed on 4 December 2015, the NTB had to pay N$23.5 million on or before 10 December 2015.

However, court documents show that the first payment of N$5 million was made on 22 December 2015 and the second – of another N$5 million - was made on 23 December 2015.

On 7 January 2016, a further N$5 million was transferred and on 17 February 2016, N$8.5 million paid.

The money was paid into Mundial’s bank account in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The last payment was made about a month before the awards show was set to take place, while the promised promotional package was meant to air on all participating African television stations by 20 January 2016.

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