Air Namibia liable for debt despite liquidation – lawyer
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RUSTENBURG - Air Namibia is still obliged to pay its debt despite the airline being liquidated, prominent Namibian lawyer Sisa Namandje said.
In a letter to Air Namibia’s interim CEO Theo Mberirua, dated February 11, Namandje said Air Namibia should comply with its obligation in terms of the court order handed down on January 29 and the settlement agreement on or before February 18.
If they failed, an enforcement and execution would be taken against Trans Namib.
In the letter he wanted to know whether the airline was being liquidated in order to avoid its obligation regarding the court order and the settlement.
Namandje, who represents Challenge Air, wants Air Namibia to comply with the court order before February 18.
The Namibian reported on Thursday that cabinet has given its approval for Air Namibia to be voluntarily liquidated.
According to the daily, the intention was to register the resolution with the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) before February 18 so that Challenge Air, which took Air Namibia to court over unpaid dues, couldn’t attach any of the airline's assets.
Air Namibia and Challenge Air reached an out-of-court settlement for US$11.9 million. The first instalment of US$6 million on the settlement is due on February 18.
The case was over the 1998 debt concerning the lease of a Boeing 767-300(ER).
The Informante reported on Thursday that Finance Minister Ipumbu Shiimi said all options were explored in an attempt to save the national airline, but in the end the airline's debts could no longer be sustained, which resulted in the decision to voluntarily liquidate it.
According to a report by the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), the National Union of Namibian Workers secretary-general Job Muniaro has called on President Hage Geingob to fire Public Enterprises Minister Leon Jooste for allegedly being untrustworthy and misdirecting cabinet on reasons for Air Namibia to be liquidated.
He told a press conference that Jooste has vested interests in the failure of the national airline and allegedly orchestrated the liquidation of the national flag carrier.
Jooste has since denied having an interest in West Air, which was reported to be interested in buying Air Namibia's assets.
Daily newspaper Namibian Sun reported that Jooste and Shiimi appeared before the ruling party Swapo’s parliamentary caucus on Friday, where party members of parliament expressed unhappiness that they were not consulted on the liquidation of Air Namibia.
Air Namibia cancelled all flight operations on Thursday.
In a brief statement on its Twitter account, the airline said all its aircraft would be grounded and its reservations system suspended with effect from Thursday.
No new bookings would be accepted and affected passengers were advised to register claims for refunds.
- African News Agency