Acting Judge Thomas Masuku yesterday indicated that he will by September be ready to deliver his ruling on the jurisdiction of the Windhoek High Court to adjudicate on one of the charges faced by prominent lawyer Dirk Conradie.
After his application to quash the charges he is facing in a corruption trial Conradie, aged 55, immediately launched another application to question the jurisdiction of the Namibian High Court to decide on an incident that transpired in Lisbon, Portugal.
According to Conradie, since the board meeting to decide the award of the advertising tender was held in Portugal, Namibian courts cannot adjudicate on it. According to an affidavit deposed by his legal counsel, Advocate Slysken Makando, there is no allegation in any of the State’s documents that Conradie was a member of a specified company or firm, such as is envisaged in the Companies Act, which had an interest in the tender.
Conradie and his long-time friend Sara Damases, 50, face various charges relating to an alleged bribe offered to secure Damases a stake in an advertising agency. They are jointly indicted on three charges under the Anti-corruption Act, namely corruptly soliciting gratification for using influence in procuring a contract, corruptly using an office or position to obtain gratification and attempting or conspiring to contravene sections of the Anti-corruption Act.
Conradie alone also faces a fourth charge in terms of the Companies Act, namely failing to disclose an interest in a contract of significance to be entered into by a company. It is alleged by the State that Conradie promised advertising company, DV8 Saatchi and Saatchi, that he would use his influence as chairperson of the board of MTC to get them MTC’s advertising contract, worth N$60 million, in exchange for them taking on Damases as partner.
This allegedly happened during a meeting in Conradie’s law offices on June 12, 2012. Unbeknown to Conradie, the directors of the company he met with secretly recorded the conversation and handed the audio recording over to the ACC.
Conradie and Damases previously entered a special plea that the recordings were made without their consent and as such infringed on their constitutional rights and that Conradie cannot be tried under the Anti-Corruption Act, as he was not a public officer, as stipulated in the Act.
The application was dismissed. Judge Masuku said given that the State has an obligation to lead evidence to prove the allegations it must be afforded an opportunity to do so.
State Advocate Ed Marondedze opposed the application and argued that MTC is a registered Namibian entity and as such the Namibian courts have jurisdiction to hear the matter. He further said it is Namibian public money that is at stake and the High Court is thus the correct place to oversee the matter.
Judge Masuku indicated that he will be ready with his ruling at 10h00 on September 9.
Conradie is represented by Vas Soni SC from South Africa and Damases by Gerson Hinda on instructions of Diedericks Inc.