Namibia: Ministry of Environment and Tourism Rejects Kora Payout Claim

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has rejected claims made in local media that it assisted Kora All Africa Music Awards founder Ernest Adjovi to 'con' government out of some N$ 8 million in public funds.

MET Permanent Secretary Malan Lindeque said in a media statement issued Friday that the reports were void of any truth and "should be rejected with condemnation."

Adjovi is alleged to have received N$ 8 million, which was not approved by the Treasury in addition to an initial N$ 21 million for the awards.

Lindeque explained that the decision to host the Kora Awards in Namibia was endorsed by the Namibian government and supported by various stakeholders.

According to the statement, a cooperation agreement was signed by government and Telecom Mundial, which holds the rights to the Kora awards brand.

"In addition, a service contract in the form of a memorandum of agreement was entered into between the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) and Telecom Mundial for the procurement of a promotional package," he said.

He added that the contract was signed in good faith from the side of Namibia as represented by the NTB in the interest of tourism promotion and development - both agreements which were cleared by the Office of the Attorney General.

He furthermore explained that NTB procured a promotional package of US$ 1.5 million (N$ 21 million) based on the exchange rate of US dollar which traded at N$ 14,35 at the time of the agreement on 04 December 2015.

The fluctuation in the exchange rate resulted in the Rand, to which the Namibia dollar is linked, depreciating drastically against the US dollar. As a result, the amount increased to N$ 23 506 234 based on the exchange rate of US$ 1 to N$ 15,96 when the final payments were done, which was between 02 and 10 February 2016.

Lindeque added that the payment made to Telecom Mundial was done in compliance with the contract and that nothing was done in secrecy as the event and the involvement of government and NTB were widely publicised.

"The current outcome with regards to the event was not foreseen and it is therefore regrettable to the ministry that the event did not take place as anticipated," he stated.

SOURCE: The Namibian