Namibia: Cabinet Secretary Apologises to SA Lawyer

27 February 2020

The secretary to the Cabinet, George Simataa, says a payment of N$50 000 that the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia made to South African lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi in 2018 was for his attendance at the National Land Conference held that year.

In a statement issued today, Simataa said Ngcukaitobi was invited to attend the Land Conference in October 2018 as a guest speaker.

Simataa explained that at that time, Fishcor was one of the state-owned companies providing financial, material and logistical assistance for the conference.

"Fishcor provided financial assistance towards the payment of production of conference materials, as well as air tickets and accommodation and per diems for the international guest speakers and resource persons such as Adv. Tembeka Ngcukaitobi [...] and others," Simataa stated.

Simataa said that for the sake of convenience, it was agreed that the state-owned companies providing sponsorship should provide their assistance directly to the conference, hence the payment made by Fishcor to Ngcukaitobi.

"The request from state-owned companies to assist towards the hosting of the conference was done in good faith. When Fishcor donated the money [... ] it was not known that this company was involved in the alleged bribery and corruption scandal," the statement noted.

Simataa's statement was issued after the Anti-Corruption Commission summoned Ngcukaitobi on Wednesday to explain the Fishcor payment.

As previously reported, Ngcukaitobi is representing former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau and his co-accused in their bid to have the warrants that led to their arrest near the end of November last year declared unlawful.

Simataa extended an apology to Ngcukaitobi in light of the matter having gone viral on social media.

"I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Adv. Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and his family, on behalf of the government of the Republic of Namibia for the inconvenience this matter may have caused to him," Simataa stated.

The Namibian yesterday reported that Ngcukaitobi previously also represented Swapo in 2018 in a case in which two Swapo members tried to have the party's extraordinary congress in November 2018 stopped.

He also represented the ruling party last year in the same case, in which the High Court was asked to have the outcome of Swapo's party congress in 2017 nullified.

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