Andrew Kathindi

Lawyer Sisa Namandje maintains the contentious last minute deal struck between his client, Challenge Air and Air Namibia remains valid despite government distancing itself from the arrangement and the carrier’s board resigning en masse.

“They must just pay as ordered by court. If they don’t pay, we will sell the planes and other things. The court order says that once they have not paid, we will execute immediately,” Namandje told Windhoek Observer.

According to terms of the deal which was agreed upon by the Air Namibia board, the airline will move ahead to settle its N$182 million debt, failure of which, the airline will be liquidated.

“If they don’t pay, we seize their property, including planes. It doesn’t matter. Either they pay or they lose planes and other things. Every property they have,” the high profile lawyer said.

This comes as a war of words has erupted between the former board members and government over how the deal was made, amid accusations and counter accusations, with government insisting that it will not be held liable for what was agreed.

The development has seen the Public Enterprises ministry lead by Leon Jooste announcing that his ministry has sort a legal opinion over the development.

Air Namibia is expected to make the first installment of the settlement 5,800,000 euros (N$103, 922, 802) by 18th day of February, and thereafter begin monthly payments of 677,175 euros (N$12,133,435) until the debt is settled.

Developments at the national carrier which is now operating without a board after four member team led by Chairperson Escher Luanda, Heritha Muyoba, Willy Mertens and Captain Alois Nyandoro resigned, has seen unions representing its various workers also weighing in.

According to statement issued on Thursday and signed by the Namibian Cabin Crew Union (NCCU), Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (NATAU) and Namibia Airline Pilots Association (NAPA), problems at the airline are a result of political interference.

“Problems that have led Air Namibia’s current status lie with political interference in the business operations and shareholder conflict of interest, employment of incompetent people into key and critical positions and unqualified people in a dynamic business environment. It has to be said that government as the main shareholder has been instrumental in the airline’s failure. It is clear from the Challenge Air case that the government does not have the appetite nor the political will to rescue the airline from this impasse,” read the statement.