'Paragonuptas' Amunyela, Jacobs fight back on rumours

Two prominent businessmen say they have never asked any favours from President Hage Geingob.

12 October 2017 | People

Businessmen Desmond Amunyela and Lazarus Jacobs say they will “go after” those spreading rumours that they have attempted state capture by unduly influencing President Hage Geingob to advance their business interests.

“We are going to direct our attention at those people so that they can tell us where they are getting such information,” said Amunyela.

“These things are coming from people who are the president's apologists, who are speaking on his behalf publicly and whatever.”

The two former friends of Geingob instructed their lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, in August to write a letter to the president in which they demanded that he either confirm or refute such allegations.

“We are saying we have never, and people say we have, while the president remains quiet. The president has an obligation to come out and say that he has indeed severed his relationship with us because of A, B, or C,” Amunyela said.

They have sent copies of the letter to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), police inspector-general Sebastian Ndeitunga and the ombudsman.

“State capture is a very serious allegation. That is why we felt it is necessary to copy in those other instruments of the state so that they can be aware of the allegations. Some of these allegations can have an existential threat to our businesses because people can say one way these guys can make money is through corrupt means, by capturing the president,” said Jacobs.

“We also gave the president the option to respond within a legally reasonable time [of 14 days].”

Amunyela said: “We have gone to our lawyers to ask the president with all due respect to help us out of that quagmire because it is affecting us.

“That is what we have gone to the president for. We did not go there to take him to court. We went there to seek clarity. We are hoping that he will come out and help us.

“This has nothing to do with the president but it should be easy for him to come out and say 'I was never captured or there was never an attempted capture'. But if we did, he can tell Namibia 'yes indeed they tried and that is why I am no longer with them'.”

They have given President Geingob 14 days to respond but so far State House has remained mum on the matter. Presidential spokesperson Albertus Aochamub has not responded to questions put to him.

Amunyela and Jacobs say no response from the president means that he agrees that there never was an attempt on their part to capture his largesse, or that he is unaware of the allegations.

“If the president does not respond we will assume that he has no knowledge of us having attempted to capture him or asked him to be corrupt with us. That is our understanding of his silence. End of story,” said Amunyela.

The business partners and co-owners of Paragon Investments said they never went to Geingob with a business plan or asked him to help them in business.

“We have never attempted to capture him; we do not even know what it is to capture. It is unfair that the public is being conditioned and made to believe that such is true,” insisted Amunyela.

Yet, they feel they have been unfairly tainted in media reports and on social media.

President Geingob during the 2016 independence celebrations made a declaration against poverty and corruption and cautioned local and foreign businesspeople and entrepreneurs not to “try to negotiate” with him on “tenders and deals”.

According to Amunyela and Jacobs, there have subsequently been thinly veiled suggestions in the newspapers that they are some of the businesspeople Geingob referred to since mention was made of the soccer match in Brazil in 2014 they flew the then president-elect to.

Another piece published as commentary in a weekly more brazenly referred to them as “failed Paragonuptas” – referring to their company Paragon Investments and their souring friendship with Geingob.

CATHERINE SASMAN

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