Kora trial: We were misled, says NTB

05 May 2021 | Justice

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) was misled and wrongly made to believe that the organisers of the failed 2015 Kora All Africa Music Awards had sufficient financial backing to hold the awards and meet contractual obligations, the board’s CEO Digu //Naobeb testified on Monday.

About five years after the NTB instigated legal action against the owners of the awards in an attempt to recover the more than N$23.5 million it paid to market Namibia, the trial started in earnest in the SADC Court in Windhoek this week.

The legal action followed a breach of contract by Kora owners to host the event and non-compliance to refund NTB’s money within a specified time period as per an agreement signed.

//Naobeb was the first witness to testify in the controversial case before Judge Herman Oosthuizen.

The tourism board sued Mundial Telecom Sarl, Kora 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.

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

The awards have been marred in secrecy and controversy; especially after reports emerged that Adjovi is a “charlatan” who uses the awards to milk money out of the hosting country’s government.

Contract

Taking the stand, //Naobeb testified that NTB concluded a written agreement for the promotion package on 4 December 2015 with Mundial for the awards ceremony, which was scheduled take place on 20 March 2016.

The awards were initially set for 13 December 2015, but were then postponed. As per the contract, NTB had to pay N$23.5 million on or before 10 December 2015.

In compliance with this agreement, payments were finalised on 17 February, about a month before the ceremony was set to take place.

The promised promotional package – consisting of television clips, ad space on Kora’s website, print ads, mentions during the live ceremony and 300 seats for important guests – was meant to be followed by a report by Mundial 60 days after the ceremony on the coverages and the number of countries the show was aired in.

//Naobeb said according to the agreement, in the event that the ceremony did not take place in Namibia, Mundial was to refund the amount paid by NTB within 60 days.

Misled

According to //Naobeb, Mundial, Adjovi and Shiimi caused NTB to suffer contractual damages and failed, refused or neglected to pay the N$23.5 million back.

He said Shiimi neglected to represent to NTB that Mundial and Adjovi did not have sufficient financial backing or means to hold the awards and the tourism board was misled that Mundial would meet its contractual obligations.

The failure to host the awards and repay the money was, therefore, inexcusable, he said.

James Diedericks appeared for the defendants while Kaitjata Kangueehi represented NTB.

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