Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa has taken his fight not to testify in Gondwana Collection Namibia’s ongoing N$638 million lawsuits against Hollard Insurance Namibia to the Supreme Court.
In his appeal, Simataa said the order by High Court Judge Thomas Masuku in chambers on 11 March to subpoena him to appear and testify on 17 March was grossly done, as he was not present nor was he afforded an opportunity to be heard.
In addition, the order was made when he had already notified the court of his intention to appeal the High Court order of 7 June 2021, which granted leave to Hollard Insurance to subpoena him and attorney general Festus Mbandeka, and hand over various correspondences, ranging from letters, emails, WhatsApp, text and other electronic messages exchanged between them and Cabinet, the National Covid-19 Task force and former health minister Bernard Haufiku.
The subpoenas also request minutes of Cabinet meetings, where Covid-19 regulations were discussed and issued by the President.
“Masuku J actually determined and adjudicated on my civil rights and obligations by effectively agreeing with Hollard that it is entitled to implement the subpoena in the amended form notwithstanding the fact that I have filed an appeal,” said Simataa.
He said the law requires that once an appeal is noted, all proceeding comes to a halt until the appeal is finalised.
“The court denied me a hearing on a very crucial issue and proceeded to make an order effectively aimed at reissuing an invasive subpoena, which was vigorously challenged by myself and the attorney general in the proceedings before it,” noted Simataa.
Thus, gross, grave injustice and substantively irregularity occurred, he argued.
Gondwana is accusing Hollard of dragging its feet with regard to the payment of up to N$638 million in a business interruption claim due to Covid-19.
It claims it suffered 90 000 cancellations due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020, and Hollard’s delay in processing the claim was putting its business at risk, as well as the financial security of 1 200 Gondwana employees.