Law Society loses Sisa Namandje case

Andrew Kathindi

Judge Herman Oosthuizen on Friday dismissed the Law Society of Namibia’s (LSN) application to probe the financial records of lawyer Sisa Namandje’s law firm as part of its investigation into his connections to the Fishrot saga.

Judge Oosthuizen, however, found that the application was not properly and lawfully authorized.

In his judgment delivered via Zoom, Judge Oosthuizen ordered the LSN to pay the costs, which include the costs of one instructing and two instructed counsel.

“I am seriously concerned by the modus operandi followed by the LSN as the regulating body of all enrolled legal practitioners in Namibia in this matter. It displays an attitude by the Council of the LSN and its elected councilors, of distancing themselves from possible controversial decisions and procedure. They essentially put the Director in the line of fire where not she, but they, are accountable,” Judge Oosthuizen stated before delivering his judgment.

Namandje was accused of having used his firm’s accounts to launder money after the LSN caught wind of this after the airing of the Al Jazeera documentary “Anatomy of a Bribe”.

The matter was brought to court after Namandje refused to allow the LSN access to his records.

In his arguments, Namandje’s lawyer, Advocate Raymond Heathcote had argued that only the Council can investigate and that there is no provision in the Legal Practitioners Act (LPA) or its Rules authorising the Director to conduct investigation of the books of account of a legal practitioner.

The LSN was not available for comment on their next move by the time of publishing.

The High Court Judgement comes as Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani wrote to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) demanding to know why not action has been taken against other high profile individuals who are alleged to have also played a key role in the Fishrot saga.

The PDM request came after lawyer, Richard Metcalfe, who was representing former fisheries Minister Bernhard Esau and his son in-law Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi in their bail hearing at the time, questioned why no action had been taken against prominent lawyer, Sisa Namandje.

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