WINDHOEK – The Windhoek High Court on Monday said it does not have jurisdiction over Kora All Africa Music Awards founder Ernest Adjovi in his personal capacity, but has jurisdiction over his company Mundial Telecom SARL.
According to Judge Herman Oosthuizen, the Namibian constitution does not allow the High Court to operate outside its scope of jurisdiction and as such cannot sue Adjovi as a person. However, the constitution does make provision for jurisdiction in the instance of a business entity that conducted business in Namibia, hence it has jurisdiction over Adjovi’s company.
According to Judge Oosthuizen when an inhabitant (Namibia Tourism Board) wants to sue a non-inhabitant or wanderer, it is required to attach property of the wanderer – in this case Adjovi – to confirm jurisdiction even if the High Court has jurisdiction over the cause of action. What it means in layman’s terms is that since Adjovi has no property in Namibia, NTB (Namibia Tourism Board) cannot enforce a sound claim in money – in short it has no course of action.
The NTB tried to sue Adjovi, his company and businessman Tonata Shiimi in the High Court for allegedly swindling the state out of more than N$20 million in public funds three years ago.
The money was to be spent on hosting the Kora All-Africa Music Awards in 2016, which never took place. Judge Oosthuizen ordered each party to pay its own costs.
In reaction to the High Court judgement, Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta said he had instructed NTB two months ago to have two parallel cases – one, the civil, and the other a criminal case against Adjovi and other people involved.
“We have to lay a criminal case against those involved because we feel they have committed fraud. They ought to know that if Kora Awards has not been conducted, they are supposed to pay back within six months the whole money. It’s in the contract. They only wanted to negotiate to pay a certain amount of money and we said ‘No we cannot’ unless we go for a criminal case,” he reacted.
Shifeta noted he is still waiting to hear from NTB as to how far they are in instituting a criminal case against those found wanting. –
Additional reporting Roland Routh