• November 16th, 2018
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We don’t budget for local or foreign lawyers - Shanghala

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Front Page News

Edgar Brandt Windhoek-Attorney General Sacky Shanghala stands by his office’s decision to hire foreign lawyers, whose fees ran into millions this year. The Attorney General remains adamant that his office based its decision to contract foreign lawyers on circumstances and the level of expertise available locally, despite paying N$45.4 million in legal and consultant fees to foreign lawyers and legal experts this year. Speaking exclusively to New Era, Shanghala was at pains to explain how the Office of the Attorney General budgets its activities for the year based on what needs to be done, and not on what percentage of the budget is to be allocated to foreign legal consultations versus local legal consultations. New Era wanted him to shed light on the workings of the Office of the Attorney General, following revelations that the office had this year approved the payment of N$35.4 million in legal fees to United Kingdom-based lawyers and further requested about N$10 million to pay a South African law firm. “The budgeting is never done on the basis of local or foreign lawyers. We consider the frequency of cases and what may likely eventuate. For instance, closer to election years, we make provision for litigation. Emergencies and unplanned events obviously occur and we only relay our needs to the Ministry of Finance for budgetary support,” explained Shanghala. Earlier this year, during the debate on German reparations for the atrocities committed against Namibians, Shanghala said the United Kingdom lawyers had been appointed for nine months to assist Namibia’s negotiating teams with research, both in Namibia and internationally, as well as with the drafting of input statements. “As you know, Germany is the most legally sophisticated country on the European continent – hence the need to engage English lawyers, who are aware of European community law, was obvious,” Shanghala said recently during debate on the matter in the National Assembly. Yesterday, he pointed out that the annual budget for the Office of the Attorney General is just over N$240 million, which many insiders say is not sufficient. During the 2016/17 financial year, the Office of the Attorney General spent about N$985 000 on foreign lawyers, more than N$8 million on local lawyers. The office itself has 154 prosecutors, which are said to be insufficient as many young prosecutors often leave in search of greener pastures. The total staff complement of the Office of the Attorney General is 260 out an available 376 posts. “Some people measure justice being served by the number of cases we win or lose. While we do not hoist our flag every time we win matters, particularly in the Supreme Court, we are confident that the quality of the arguments we present to the court do not only enrich our jurisprudence, but also we trust that they contribute to the education of our colleagues, who are in the profession, particularly, when they deal with specific areas of public law,” said Shanghala. “In essence,” the Attorney General indicated, “success is obtained when justice is served, and served timeously. Winning and losing may evince the delivery of justice.”
New Era Reporter
2017-12-21 09:13:02 10 months ago

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