The High Court is set to deliver its ruling today in the case of the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB), as it fights to recover more than N$23 million paid to organisers of the Kora All-Africa Music Awards in 2015.
On 9 December last year, Judge Herman Oosthuizen indicated that he will deliver judgement in the matter today after he said the ruling was not ready that day.
The NTB hopes to get the court to compel Ernest Adjovi, Tonata Shiimi and Mundial Telecom, which is based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, to pay back over N$23 million in public funds - money that was to be spent on hosting the awards during 2016 in Namibia, which never materialised.
The money, which was transferred in portions, amounts to N$23.5 million. The cash was transferred to bank accounts in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, as well as through banks in Germany and Spain between December 2015 and February 2016.
NTB entered into an agreement with Adjovi’s company on 4 December 2015 to provide a Platinum Tourism Promotion Package. The agreement stipulates that the so-called Platinum Tourism Promotion Package 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 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.
The terms of the agreement further stipulate that Adjovi, and his company would return the money to NTB within 60 days, with a deduction of less reasonable expenses incurred, in the event the awards do not take place in Namibia. However, this did not happen. NTB CEO Digu //Naobeb testified that although he had concerns about the procurement, NTB was under pressure to make payments to Adjovi and his company.
He informed the court the contract was strictly handled by the Office of the Attorney General at the time headed by Sacky Shanghala. He noted that NTB’s consulting lawyer Kangueehi was sidelined during the contract negotiations.
It was his testimony that normal procurement procedures were not followed, while the agreement was rushed because Adjovi was leaving the country at the time. //Naobeb had concerns that Adjovi’s company was not registered in Namibia nor did the company have a local bank account. But his concerns were not taken up.
Adjovi who was expected to take the stand during the hearing but never showed up, indicated in his witness statement that his local partners’ 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 indicated that government was responsible for securing funds in the form of sponsorship in order to make the event a success.
He also alleged that then-attorney general 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.