Edgar Brandt Windhoek-The Office of the Attorney General has come out guns blazing following an article in a local weekly newspaper that alleges the Attorney-General offered to pay N$40 million to an aviation company to prevent a case from going to court. The article, published in the Windhoek Observer, alleges that Attorney-General, Sacky Shanghala, was considering payment to Expedite Aviation after it demanded compensation following the arbitrary cancellation of an agreement with the Tsumeb Municipality to jointly develop, control and run the Tsumeb airport. While the details of the case may not be discussed in public or in the media as the case is still ongoing, Deputy Government Attorney, Marius Boonzaier, in a letter to the Editor of the Observer, Kuvee Kangueehi, explained that a court case can only be settled between the parties involved and an instruction to settle can only emanate from a client duly advised. “Further, out of court settlement has always been and will continue to be a consideration in any litigation and your depictions notwithstanding, will not erase this facet of legal practice from occurring,” reads the letter. Boonzaier claims that the gist of the article is that the Attorney-General is in breach of his duties and the he ‘callously, wantonly regularly and without regard to the merits of the matters at hand insists on settling matters in exorbitant amounts to the detriment of the State and in a manner depicting him to be incompetent or otherwise incapable of handling the matters which are under his purview as the Attorney-General’. “It is readily apparent from the unsubstantiated, vague and false allegations that you knew (or at the very least should have known), as you went to publish that: The Attorney-General never communicated to/with the CEO of Tsumeb local authority at any time whatsoever in respect of this matter; the Attorney-General never communicated to anyone GRN’s intention to settle the matter out of court; and the Attorney-General has opined expressly, in contradiction to the position you now accuse him to hold.” Boonzaier therefore requested the Windhoek Observer to prove that the Attorney-General communicated with the CEO of the Tsumeb local authority on this matter and to prove that the Attorney-General made up his mind to settle the matter contrary to the position held by his office. Boonzaier added that failure to provide the requested proof as well as failure to retract the ‘unfortunate article’ will result in the Office of the Attorney-General taking a stance to “further pursue its options to restore the public confidence in its head and its constitutional functions, which we believe are critical to the continuation of the growth of a democratic culture and the rule of law in the Republic of Namibia.” The Windhoek Observer received a written warning from the Office of the Attorney-General on January 23, 2018, to retract the statement. The AG’s office was adamant that failure to retract the statement borders on contravention of the sub-judice principle, which states that once legal proceedings become active it is a criminal offence for media to broadcast or publish material that would create a substantial risk of serious prejudice to the proceedings.
2018-01-30 09:36:58 7 months ago