NAMIBIAN prominent lawyers, Sisa Namandje, has accused the Law Society of Namibia (LSN) in a damning answering affidavit of ignoring its own constitution following an application by the self-regulating body to have access to his law firm’s Trust account.
LSN is investigating Namandje’s law firm. Sisa Namandje & Co Inc, over money laundering allegations linked to the Fishrot scandal.
Bank records show that the state-owned National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) made two payments amounting to N$17,5 million into Sisa Namandje & Co’s trust account.
About N$7 million went to businessman, Vaino Nghipondoka, while N$6 million was paid to Swapo’s Oshikoto regional coordinator, Armas Amukwiyu.
According to Namandje’s answering affidavit, the LSN failed to indicate who the non-conflicted councillors are and whether or not the conflicted councillors at the council meeting were invited or indicated their conflict of interest at the meeting where it was decided to investigate his firm.
“It is clear from this that council abdicated its decision making powers to the Director. It left it up to the Director to determine whether a law firm refuses access to PWC or her to conduct an investigation. The council itself also did not take any of these important decisions. It itself says so in its resolution. It left everything to the Director. In short, Council may not abdicate its important decision making powers whether or not to bring an application to obtain a search warrant, whether it is indeed necessary or not, whether or not the important issue of attorney client privilege should be raised in the application itself,” Namandje said.
Namandje alleges that the LSN’s blanket refusal to provide the minutes and attendance record is a fundamental breach of its obligation to be transparent.
He further alleges that the Law Society has not been consistent in as far as treating its members fairly.
According to him, the law firm LorentzAngula (ENS Africa), which represents the Icelandic companies, received payment thereof but is not subject to scrutiny as it should be, according to the Law Society.
A Council member of the LSN, according to Namandje, one Vanessa Boesak, is also employed by the said law firm.
Namandje was at all material times, according to him, available and ready to cooperate with the LSN but that he was not accorded a chance to respond before steps against him were taken.
“There is no evidence of unlawful or unreasonable refusal to cooperate on my part, in fact it is the applicant who refused to provide me with the necessary and relevant information to enable me to respond to the allegations made against me which I was entitled to do so in terms of the very rules that the applicant is relying on,” he said.
Those arrested in the Fishrot case include former fisheries minister Bernard Esau, former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, former MD of Investec Asset Management Namibia, James Hatuikulipi, his cousin Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi, who is also the son-in-law of Esau and Ricardo Gustavo, a senior manager at Investec Asset Management Namibia, as well as Pius ‘Taxa’ Mwatelulo and CEO of Fishcor Mike Nghipunya.