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OPM apologises to Ngcukaitobi

OPM apologises to Ngcukaitobi

Zorena Jantze

THE Secretary to Cabinet, George Simataa, on behalf of the Namibian Government has offered an apology to Advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi for the misunderstanding that erupted around the payment of N$50 000 he received from Fishcor during 2018.

 

Advocate Ngcukaitobi represents the six persons implicated in the massive fishing corruption scandal, During the latest application by the Fishrot Six to have the arrest warrants on which they were taken into custody at the end of November 2019 declared null and void, Advocate Ngcukaitobi was served with a summons to explain to the Anti-Corruption Commission of Namibia why he received the payment that originated from the state-owned fishing company, Fischor, was for.

 

Lucius Murorua of the MKK Inc. Attorneys, who acted as instructing counsel for Advocate Ngcukaitobi, also issued a statement in which the law firm condemned the actions of the Ant-Corruption Commission officials during proceedings in the High Court on Wednesday.

 

“It is notable that the Summons was delivered inside the Court Room during the hearing. If the intention was no interference with the hearing, we cannot fathom why this was done. Our client’s right to a fair trial was maliciously interfered with through the ACC’s unlawful application of psychological coercion and pressure to undermine the applicants’ on-going presentation of their case to Court.

 

Murorua was of the opinion that the ACC could have sought clarification from the Office of the Prime Minister or the Ministry of Lands or Fishcor before embarrassing not only the Namibian Government but also the esteemed counsel and the law firm and the legal fraternity in general.

 

In an official statement the Secretary to Cabinet gave clarification regarding the newspaper and social media reports on the payment of N$50 000 to Advocate Ngcukaitobi by the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia.

 

The full statement by Stanley Simataa reads as follows:

Negative reports have surfaced on social media and daily newspapers that the Anti-Corruption Commission has summoned South African Lawyer, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi to submit a statement explaining a N$50 000 payment he received in 2018 from the State-owned company Fishcor.

 

It is common cause that between 1-5 October 2018, the Government of the Republic of Namibia hosted the 2nd Land Conference. The preparation and hosting of the Conference did not only require impeccable logistical and material input, but it was also imperative to invite eminent persons with requisite knowledge, legal and research acumen to submit documents to enrich the discussions at the Land Conference.

 

In this context, the Namibian Government invited Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, an author of the book: “The land is ours: Black Lawyers and the Birth of Constitutionalism in South Africa” in order to provide insights into how best to navigate complex issues of land reform.

 

Given the above, huge financial resources were required to ensure seamless and smooth hosting of a conference of this magnitude. Against this background, Government approached state-owned companies to provide financial, material and logistical assistance, including food and other necessities towards hosting the said conference.

 

Amongst those who responded in the affirmative was Fishcor which provided financial assistance towards payment of production of conference materials, as well as air tickets and accommodation and per diems for international guest speakers and resource persons such as Advocate Ngcukaitobi, Dr. Jospeh Okpaku and others who delivered research papers, namely, the Constitutionality of Ancestral Land Rights and Options for Restitution/Compensation; and Land Reform in Africa, Lessons for Namibia.

 

The amount of N$50 000 paid to Advocate Ngcukaitobi was an honorarium fr the work done at the Land Conference. For the sake of convenience, it was agreed that state-owned companies should provide their assistance directly to the Conference, including payment of service providers and individuals that will deliver their services to the Land Conference. Information regarding all the assistance rendered to the Government during the 2nd National Land Conference can be obtained from the Ministry of Land Reform.

 

The request from state-owned companies to assist in the hosting of the conference was done in good faith. When Fishcor donated the money to the 2nd Land Conference in October 2018, it was not known that this company was involved in the alleged bribery and corruption scandal.

 

Considering the fact that the matter has gone viral on social media, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise Advocate Ngcukaitobi and his family on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Namibia for the inconvenience this matter may have caused to him.