Menzies lied in affidavit filed with the court …High Court ruling today

Niël Terblanché

In a desperate effort to avoid being evicted from the premises of the Hosea Kutako International Airport as ordered by the Supreme Court of Namibia, Menzies Aviation Namibia has resorted to lying under oath and providing false information in court documents filed at the High Court of Namibia in an urgent application heard earlier this week by Judge Shafimana Ueitele.

In the said affidavit, Menzies Country Manager, Emil Smith claims that Anne Miller, the regional manager for SA Airlink provided information to the applicant with regard to the qualifications of Paragon staff members. Smith stated, “I have information that Paragon’s core staff (if compared with the core staff of Menzies as set out in Annexure ES7) do not have the required training, their training lapsed as a result of the fact that they were not continuously operationally employed. I know this because I was informed by Anne Miller from Airlink, who informed me that Airlink requested Paragon to prove to Airlink that their staff members are properly trained and are in possession of valid airport certification.Although I do not have the time to obtain an affidavit as a result of the extreme urgency under which this affidavit is deposed to,” the document reads.

However, In her sworn statement made at the Hosea Kutako International Airport Police Station on the 13th of June 2023, Miller categorically denied that she ever made such statements to Menzies as stated in their affidavit.

“I, at no point, have been in discussions with Menzies with regard to certificates of Paragon staff. Menzies is to refrain from including me and Airlink with this court dispute of Menzies and the NAC,” she wrote in her statement.

Sisa Namandje, who represents Paragon in the latest court case, informed the legal counsel of Menzies in a formal letter dated the 13th of June 2023 that he received urgent instructions from his client to inform the applicant’s legal representative that the Anne Miller referred to in paragraph 89.8 of the founding affidavit denies making the allegations as stated in relation to training certificates of Paragon’s staff.

“Because of the seriousness of the allegations, she has, this morning, made a statement under oath attached hereto and marked as Annexure A,” Namandje wrote in his letter.

In view of this information, Namandje demanded that Menzies remove the allegations from its affidavit.

“We hereby require your client to have those allegations removed from its founding affidavit by no later than 13:00 today (Tuesday) failing of which we will file a status report attaching this letter, the statement under oath and we will at a relevant time call for a judicial enquiry in relation to the allegations made in your client’s affidavit in the circumstances where our client did not have an opportunity to respond thereto before last night’s hearing,” Namandje said in his letter.

Menzies approached the High Court late on Monday afternoon with an urgent application to grant the company permission to vacate the Hosea Kutako International Airport in 30 days.

The application contravenes the Supreme Court’s ruling ordering the company to leave immediately.

Menzies argued during the court proceedings on Monday that its immediate absence from the airport would be disastrous and that a 30-day period to hand over to Paragon would make more sense.

Pursuant to hearing legal submissions from the parties’ respective legal representatives, the court reserved judgment and indicated that judgment in this regard will be delivered at 10:00 today. Around the same time that the dispute between the Namibia Airports Company and Menzies Aviation Namibia started in 2022, the company was also involved in a similar dispute in Guam where it was also responsible for ground handling functions.

The Guam International Airport Authority awarded the project to Menzies Aviation in 2021, but a rival company JMI Edison challenged the award and alleged that Menzies was not licensed by the local contractor’s board.

Investigations in Guam revealed that a review by the local Contractors License Board found Menzies was indeed not licensed to perform the task it was hired for.

According to Pacific Daily News files, it was further revealed that Guam Contractors License Board had been issuing certain speciality licenses to contractors with no legal authority since 2009 because of an administrative error.

In February last year 400 workers employed by Menzies Aviation, threatened to down tools at Heathrow because the company did not increase their salaries for two years.

The workers voted for strike action because of Menzies’ refusal to even enter into negotiations for outstanding pay increases in 2020 and 2021.

The strike action would have caused delays for passengers flying with British Airways and other airlines at Heathrow.

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