WINDHOEK - The Namibia Tourism Board CEO, Digu //Naobeb has detailed the breakdown of payments of well over N$23 million, paid to a company belonging to Ernst Adjovi, the controversial owner of the Kora All-Africa Music Awards.
The NTB is suing Mundial Telecom, Adjovi and his local business partner Tonata Shiimi in a bid to recover N$23.5 million that the parastatal paid towards the hosting of the Kora awards, which Namibia was supposed to host in 2016.
In papers filed in the Windhoek High Court, //Naobeb in his witness statement, indicated that NTB first paid the Adjovi-owned company N$5 million on 22 December 2015, and a further N$5 million the next day.
On January 7, 2016, an amount of N$5 million was paid to Mundial Telecom. A final payment of about N$8.5 million was paid on February 17, 2016, just weeks before Namibia was scheduled to host the awards ceremony on March 20, 2016. The NTB had signed a so-called Platinum Tourism Promotion Package with Mundial Telecom, which guaranteed 26 promotional television clips to be shown on each participating African country’s public television station for two months prior to the ceremony. The agreement also included the NTB getting a front, middle and back row tickets for very important persons. The NTB was also promised at least 150 gallery seats and a space allocation in the Kora magazine.
However, //Naobeb argued that the organisers of the Kora awards breached the agreement after failing to host the ceremony as scheduled, while they also failed to deliver the Platinum Promotion Package.
“It failed to refund to the plaintiff the amount of US$1 500 000 (N$23 506 234) which the plaintiff paid to it in terms of the agreement; and it used the funds paid by the plaintiff for purposes other than those intended and agreed to by the parties,” //Naobeb said in his witness statement.
In his defence, Adjovi claimed his local partner’s failure to secure the required waiver to pay import duties or VAT to enable them to bring the equipment for the awards, led to the breaching of the contract.
Adjovi also claimed that NTB made late payments, which resulted in them not being able to comply with its obligations timeously.
He also alleged that then attorney-general Sacky Shanghala was well aware of the obligations of all parties involved in the matter as well as the various breaches that resulted in the court case.
According to Adjovi, Shanghala was responsible for drafting the agreements between Mundial Telecom, NTB and the Namibian government. “During a telephone discussion on March 1, 2016 Mr Shanghala undertook to find the sponsors necessary (as agreed by the government) to cover the costs of supplies and pay them directly. I understood this was the obligation of the government of Namibia in terms of the agreement between it and the first defendant,” Adjovi stated in his witness statement.
He further claimed Mundial Telecom had paid its suppliers contracted to supply goods and services towards the hosting of the Kora awards.
“These payments exceeded the amount of the plaintiff’s claim and the amount paid by plaintiff to first defendant. As such no amount is in any event due to the plaintiff.”
Shiimi, who is the third defendant in the matter and whose role was to identify stakeholders and secure potential partners, testified that a number of contracts were signed between Mundial Telecom and various stakeholders, including the NBC as a broadcast partner and Air Namibia to fly in officials and artists.
“As an agent of the first defendant with a title of national director, I facilitated most of the meetings and engagements with key persons responsible for their different organisations. I was present and witnessed all these agreements being signed between the contracting parties,” he said in his witness statement. He denied having signed any agreement with NTB or having committed to any contractual obligation with regards to the Kora awards.
Both NTB and Adjovi have failed to reach settlement on the matter, which will now be back on the court roll on 18 November this year for an allocation of new trial dates. Adjovi is represented by Erasmus & Associates, while Shiimi is represented by Sisa Namandje. The NTB is represented by Kangueehi & Kavendjii Inc in the matter.