Gambling Association drags Shifeta to court

By Tracy Tafirenyika

THE Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), Pohamba Shifeta has been dragged to court by the Gambling House Association of Namibia and Irmgrand Fourty who are fighting to have the gambling levy law be declared unconstitutional until the closure of close to 20 000 illigal gambling houses are closed down.

Court documents shows Shifeta listed as the first respondent, the Gambling Board as second respondent, the Attorney General as the third accused, the Speaker of the National Assembly as the fourth respondent and President Hage Geingob as the fifth accused in the matter.

Founding affidavit filed by the applicants argued the gambling levy law which states they should pay levy fees, should declared unconstitutional by the government.

This comes after the Ministry of Environment and Tourism introduced a law which came into effect on December 1 last year, stating individuals shebeen owner with Gambling machines pay government N$10 000, Bar owners N$25 000, gambling house owners N$50 000, and Casino owners N$80 000 per gambling machine every year.

This levy is to be paid to the Ministry of Finance.

“A total of about 2 800 machines are legally in operation within licensed Gambling Houses and Casinos. An estimate of between 15 000 to 20 000 illegally owned machines were being operated by unlicensed Gambling Houses. The gambling industry is dominated by illegal gambling houses who are increasing their profit margins by means of illicitly shirking their obligations in terms of government induced levies, VAT and the applicable laws.

“This is in sharp contrast to the legal Gambling Houses who comply with the applicable laws and effectively finance the entire Gambling industry. As a result of this, the legal gambling houses have experienced a direct and exponential decline in terms of machine earnings. As a member of the Gambling House industry, l am well acquainted with the large number of illegal gambling houses situated in Windhoek of which there are many operating illegally,” reads the court documents.

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