Shiimi says reputation damaged by Kora scandal

By Paulina Ndalikokule

THE once-prominent businessman Tonata Shiimi says he has suffered immense reputational damage for over three years following a court summons that cited him as respondent in the Kora case.

The case in question is before the High Court between the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) and Mundial Telecom Sarl of Ernest Adjovi, chairman and founder of the Kora awards, who was sued by NTB with his local business partner Shiimi in September 2016 for a N$23 million transaction.

Shiimi was one of the defendants in the Namibia Tourism Board’s attempt to recover over N$23.5 million meant for promoting the country as a tourist destination during the cancelled Kora All Africa Music Awards.

The parties thus far failed to reach settlement and the case will return to court on 18 November for new trial dates. In a press statement, Shiimi said he hopes to rebuild his reputation, three years after the case came to light.

“In the light that 70 percent of the people believe what they read in the press on face value. Now that the case has been withdrawn against me, I look forward to restoring my reputation that was tarnished as a result of the summons issued against me,” he said.

In 2016, Shiimi was cited as third defendant, with Adjovi as first defendant and his company Mundial SARL Telecoms the second defendant. He said he wrote to NTB through his lawyer at Sisa Namandje & Company for the past three years to say “there was no legal basis for TBN to use me and therefore withdraw the matter against me as the third defendant,” but to no avail.

He said he was only informed by his lawyers in May that the plaintiff had agreed to withdraw its case against him as the third defendant and tendered taxed wasted costs.

“Although I welcomed the news with an open mind, I was and I remain disappointed that it took them three years to clear my name,” he said. He argues that he never entered any agreement with the plaintiff and thus never had any obligation to NTB.

He also denied any business partnership with Adjovi’s companies and added that his relationships with Adjovi was only on the basis of his company providing event services to the Kora awards.“I have never been a director, officer or stakeholder in any of Mr Adjovi’s companies and I have never been his business partner,” he stressed. Shiimi pointed out that he could not be held liable for money paid to a third party.“I have never received N$23.5 million from NTB, the monies were paid to Mr Adjovi and his companies and not me. Documentary evidence before court exists to prove this,” he said.

Shiimi further said his responsibility alongside Adjovi was only related to the preparations for the awards ceremony as the national director for the awards that were scheduled to take place between December 2015 and March 2016, with responsibility for stakeholder engagement, securing local sponsorships and directing all related local event management functions, among other responsibilities.“My decision to get involved was born out of a good intention of promoting our country to international markets, especially the continental market of Africa and to be part of a showcase which promised to establish Windhoek as the capital of African music.”

He also stringently denied social media rumours that he was directed by President Hage Geingob to work on Kora Awards with Adjovi: “This assertion is false and devoid of truth. The decision to get involved in the organisation of Kora was mine and mine alone.”