Windhoek — A legal dramatic twist is unfolding in the High Court with the aviation consultants being sued by government dragging the Ministry of Works and Transport to court demanding more than N$21 million as "severance package" for terminating their contract agreement before the due date of March 31, 2014.
The ministry is accused of "unilaterally cancelling" the June 2007 written memorandum of agreement on June 2008, "which by then was fully subjected to the terms embodied in the new agreement".
The works ministry is demanding N$2.8 million from the Namibian registered African Civil Aviation Agency (ACAA), claiming the consultants over-charged the ministry through fraudulent means of inflated charges and double invoicing. The ministry charges that the consultants "submitted fraudulent or alternatively false invoices during the agreement or alternatively were negligent when submitting these invoices or accounts."
ACAA is a consulting firm with which the then Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication entered in a five-year agreement in 2004 "to provide certain services" on setting up the African Union's African Civil Aviation Authority (AFRO-CAA) with its headquarters in Namibia. AFRO-CAA is meant to deal with aviation safety matters in Africa, which in those years pitched Africa as of the unsafest skies in the world.
The ACAA consulting firm had a Namibian registered firm whose address is care of legal firm M B De Klerk and Associates.
ACAA claims the massive N$21 million it is allegedly owed by government is money for "remuneration for professional services rendered and recoverable expenses as set out in the contract."
The consultants accuse the ministry of breaching the 2007 memorandum of agreement of June 2007 that "reviewed, renewed and revised the original contract".
ACAA accuses the ministry of failing to make proper payment in respect of professional services rendered and recoverable expenses incurred, amounting to over N$1 million plus interests of 20 percent per annum. They are further claiming an amount of N$14 693 plus 20 percent interest in respect of invoices that were incorrectly calculated prior to the termination of the contract. ACAA says it has "complied with its obligations in terms of the agreement at all times," and now claims the severance package of N$20.15 million plus 20 percent interest for the termination of the agreement before the due date of March 31, 2014.
The consultants maintain that the amended memorandum of agreement, decided on at the June 2007 meeting, agrees that the ministry shall pay the ACCA a monthly fee of N$139 145 effective from the financial year 2007/8 with an annual increment of 10 percent.
It was also decided at that meeting that the ministry shall be fully reimbursed for all project promotion expenses incurred under this agreement, by the new organisation, AFRO-CAA, as agreed by the participating States and that the schedule of reimbursement shall be made after the inauguration of AFRO-CAA. It is further claimed that on June 13, 2008 the ministry unilaterally cancelled the agreement that by then was fully subjected to the terms embodied in the new agreement.
Meanwhile, yesterday's article erroneously reported that lawyer Nixon Marcus, who is representing the ministry, is in employment of the Government Attorneys Office, while he is in fact representing the Government Attorney in his private capacity. Lawyer James Diedericks represents African Civil Aviation Agency and the case is being heard by Judge Dave Smuts.