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ACC won’t have access to LSN finding

2020-05-15  Maria Amakali

ACC won’t have access to LSN finding
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The Law Society of Namibia (LSN) submitted in court that its findings pertaining to prominent lawyer Sisa Namandje and his law firm will not be presented to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
LSN is currently in a legal tussle with Namandje after the prominent lawyer refused to open the books to his law firm’s trust account as requested by the regulatory body.

During the hearing in the Windhoek High Court yesterday before Judge Herman Oosthuizen, LSN lawyer Uno Katjipuka-Sibolile argued the purpose of gaining access and seizing identified records is not being done with the aim to hand over such records to the ACC. 
Katjipuka-Sibolile said should the ACC require information pertaining to Namandje and his law firm, they can apply for their own warrant to that effect. However, Katjipuka-Sibolile said that the ACC has thus far requested to be provided with certain information and assessments from the LSN. 

“The fact that there might be an overlap in what the authorities are looking for in terms of information, does not mean that the Law Society will simply hand over their findings to the ACC. The ACC would have to do what the ACC does,” explained Katjipuka- Sibolile.
She reiterated that LSN brought the application to court as its own entity for its own purpose, which is whether, the decision to investigate the conduct of Namandje was lawfully made by LSN council. 

Furthermore, if at the time of applying for the warrant, the LSN council had reasonable belief that Namandje is guilty of unsatisfactory conduct, which needs to be investigated.

“The attempt at avoiding scrutiny by the Law Society through legal tactics and technicalities should be shunned.   If the need should ever arise for Sisa Namandje to defend himself that time will come.  It is not now, when all that the Law Society seeks is to establish the facts, whether or not the trust account of Sisa Namandje Inc. was used for money laundering in the process of which the trust account requirements were transgressed,” submitted Katjipuka-Sibolile. Namandje’s law firm came under scrutiny after the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) brought to the attention of the LSN its concern about suspicious transactions involving Namandje law firm’s trust account that they have picked up.
It is alleged that dubious transactions amounting to N$23 million, linked to the huge fishing bribery scandal, were deposited into Namandje’s law firm’s trust account. This money was then paid out to several politicians and businessmen.  

Namandje has consistently denied any wrongdoing and in his answering affidavit and rubbished claims that he has been uncooperative with the Law Society. He claims that he has on numerous occasions sought to meet with the council in order to clarify and respond to the allegations but his attempts were apparently rejected. 

Namandje said that he is in the process of finalising a comprehensive statement, which he will hand over to the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The ACC is investigating Namandje’s law firm alongside Ellis Shilengundwa Incorporated and Sacky Kadhila Amoomo in connection with funds deposited into their bank accounts by the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor), which is at the centre of the multi million-dollar fishing bribery scandal.
Judge Oosthuizen is scheduled to give a ruling on the search and seizure application on 24 July.

2020-05-15  Maria Amakali

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