Shanghala back in Kora frying pan

It is being alleged that the former AG stepped in to offer his services to mediate and finalise the agreement to save legal costs, leading to private lawyers being dropped.

29 October 2019 | Justice

ELLANIE SMIT



Former attorney-general Sacky Shanghala has emerged at the centre of the removal of conditions in the Kora awards deal that would have protected government from losing N$23 million in the scandal.

Documents seen by Namibian Sun show that Shanghala, who is now the country’s justice minister, removed suspensive conditions from the agreement between the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) and Mundial Telecom Sarl.

A source said yesterday the former AG stepped in to offer his services to mediate and finalise the agreement to save legal costs, leading to private lawyers being dropped.

“Festus Weyulu from the AG’s office was assigned to assist with the final drafting of the contract. It is clear that the AG had struck out the suspensive clause that the NTB demanded for inclusion in his advisory note to tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta and the reasons for that are unknown. Mr Shanghala can possibly asked to explain the reasons for this. This had gravely compromised the bargaining position of the NTB,” the source said.

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

In a letter dated 2 December 2015, Shanghala informed environment minister Pohamba Shifeta of certain changes that were made to the agreement.

“Pursuant to the hosting of the Kora awards ceremony in Namibia on 20 March 2016, your office requested the Office of the Attorney-General to provide scrutiny and certification of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between NTB and Mundial Telecom Sarl. After having read the MoU, we have made some changes…” Shanghala wrote to Shifeta.

The suspensive conditions would have made the agreement subject to the fulfilment of these conditions.

Among the conditions that were removed were that Mundial should have entered into deals with certain television and radio channels on or before 20 December 2015, with the aim of ensuring that the interests of the NTB regarding promotional features were duly protected.

Mundial also had to provide the NTB with promotional benefits as set out in the agreement, with the aim of ensuring that the interests of NTB were duly protected.

This included the allocation of invitation cards for the Kora awards ceremony for 36 VVIP seats, 48 middle row VIP seats, 60 back row VIP seats and 150 gallery seats.

Furthermore, space had to be allocated to the NTB in the Kora magazine.

The conditions further stated that should these not be fulfilled by 20 December 2015 or not more than 14 days after this date, the agreement shall be of no force or effect and neither party shall have any claim against the other.

Approval must however be given by a party for the extended period following a written notice.

Because of the suspensive conditions that were removed from the contract, there was apparently concern regarding whether the money the NTB was paying will indeed go towards the intended promotional package.

Namibian Sun is informed that Shifeta demanded a written letter of confirmation from Kora awards founder Ernest Adjovi to clarify the concerns he raised on the matter.

Adjovi, in a letter to Shifeta, said that as per the contract stipulations signed between the NTB and Mundial Telecom, the package that NTB committed to would exclusively be used for the purposes of marketing and promoting the country.

“With regard to television stations, I can also confirm to you minister that we have already secured 44 television stations through our partnership with CMA. This is a fact that is stipulated in the contract and already shared with your senior officials at both your ministry and the NTB,” Adjovi wrote.

He further stressed that further delays in the disbursements of the committed funds will jeopardise the event from taking place in Windhoek, which he said is a situation they had worked hard to prevent.

Meanwhile, Shanghala said in a statement last week he is not responsible for the Kora monies being unrecoverable or that the agreement he drafted led to NTB advancing the N$23 million to Mundial Telecom for hosting the awards

“I am not the one who directed that payment be made in advance and it would be prudent for all involved to take responsibility for their own deeds. I would like to caution that even ‘sources’ have agendas and interests too.”

A source said: “The contract was signed on 4 December 2015. And the first payment was made as per the witness statement of NTB around 15 December 2015. This is in direct contradiction of Shanghala’s press release that the money was paid in advance before the contract was even signed. He needs to explain.”

As per the contract that was 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 (N$5 million) was made on 23 December 2015.

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

The money was paid into the bank account of Mundial Telecom in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The last payment was done about a month before the awards was to take place in Namibia, while the promised promotional package guaranteed promotional television clips featuring Namibia would be on all participating African television stations by at least 20 January 2016.

Shifeta told Namibian Sun yesterday he was unable to comment on the agreement, as it was a confidential matter.

Efforts to get comment from Shanghala proved futile, as his cellphone remained off.

The Kora matter is serving before the Windhoek High Court and is between NTB and Mundial Telecom Sarl, which owns the rights to host the Kora awards, while Adjovi acted as the president of the company.

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