The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) has responded to theft allegations of its Ostora concept, saying the initiative is aligned to a trade ministry idea first conceptualised as far back as 2012.
The response was necessitated when two separate parties alleged the Ostora idea was stolen from them.
According to a statement from NIPDB spokesperson Margareth Gustavo, one of the parties sent a communique to the board through its lawyer on 24 August, in which it was indicated that his client sent an email to NIPDB on 23 August 2021 about the idea.
“Furthermore, two Namibian entrepreneurs who submitted unsuccessful proposals to NIPDB’s July 2020 call for expressions of interest for the Expo 2020 Dubai Startup initiative have alleged that the NIPDB ‘stole’ their ideas. Unfortunately, before the board could engage and rectify this misunderstanding with the parties directly, media reports were already circulating,” read the statement.
The NIPDB statement continued the idea for Ostora was first put forward by the trade ministry in a 2012 initiative, and this is the work that the NIPDB plans to build on.
“The NIPDB included this concept in its strategy that was initially discussed towards the end of April 2021, presented to the Advisory Board meeting of 1 July 2021, approved at the Advisory Board meeting of 15 July 2021 and presented to His Excellency in the presence of the media on 16 August 2021. We hope these dates provide clarity that internal discussions about this concept were held well before receipt of any documents referred to in the allegations.”
Gustavo added that to further address the allegations of theft of ideas and possible infringement of intellectual property rights, it is important to state that the NIPDB subscribes to the highest ethical principles – and these are applied at every level of the organisation.
“All dealings are conducted in a transparent manner, underpinned by strong corporate values to act with integrity and in good faith at all times. In addition, the organisation understands the responsibility that comes with access to the data and intellectual property of investors and businesspeople, whether large, medium, small or micro. The board respects the rights and privacy of all investors, along with the security of any information they submit, and undertake to protect it from theft while in our possession. We are equally committed to work for the development and advancement of MSMEs in Namibia,” the statement read.