Corporate victimisation is strongly condemned

Niël Terblanché

The Namibian Women Lawyer Association has in the strongest possible terms pronounced itself on corporate victimisation in the wake of the arrest of Jennifer Comalie, the chairperson of the Namibian Petroleum Corporation on charges related to the possession of illicit drugs.

The chairperson of the NWLA, Ruth Herunga said in a statement that the recent events leading up to and including the arrest and subsequent detention of Comalie have sparked deep concern among the members of the association.

“Our organization is committed to upholding the Rule of Law in this country and shall not stand by any individual or organisation that uses the justice system to intimidate, threaten or settle scores,” Herunga said.

She was of the opinion that all board members in Namibia should exercise their fiduciary responsibilities with the necessary care and skill and should be able to exercise their discretion unfetteredly.

Herunga added that board members have a legal duty to fulfil their obligations as set out in the relevant legislation as set out in the King IV report and the NamCode and to act in the best interest of the entity for which they are appointed.

“Corporate victimization is an act of aggression in an organisation by a person or group who targets another for the purpose of causing harm to the victim. Harm to the victim includes physical, psychological, reputational or emotional damage that can last a lifetime,” she said

According to Herunga, many members of the NWLA are in positions of leadership and are gatekeepers of good governance and as a result, are at risk of corporate victimization.

“The NWLA condemns in the strongest possible terms, any action that threatens the safety and security of female corporate leaders in the process of discharging their duties. We further encourage all women to continue serving on boards without fear or intimidation and to have faith in our judicial system as justice shall prevail,” Herunga said.

The NWLA chairperson called on the relevant authorities in Namibia to thoroughly investigate this matter involving Comalie and to ensure the safety of Namibia’s corporate leaders.

Herunaga also called for legislative reform to ensure that corporate victimization is completely eradicated.

“When you strike a woman, you strike a rock. We shall not be silenced!” Herunga exclaimed.

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