WINDHOEK, 23 AUG – An urgent application by First National Bank (FNB) in which it sought to stop the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) from publishing and distributing alleged “defamatory” statements about the bank, has been dismissed in the high court.
Handing down his judgement here Thursday, Judge Collins Parker indicated that the case did not satisfy the merits of urgency and that by interdicting WRP, it would deny the party the right to freedom of expression.
“The attempt to take away the respondents’ common law and constitutional right to free speech in this case is quite substantial or seeks to take away the common law or freedom of speech of the respondents,” he explained during arguments from the two sides.
WRP had initially planned to hold mass demonstrations in Windhoek, Tsumeb and Rundu on 24 August 2018 to vent their frustrations against the bank, something FNB also wanted stopped.
FNB further wanted the party, its leader Hewat Beukes (first respondent) and wife Erika Beukes (second respondent) to stop instigating others to defame the bank.
In addition, the bank wanted Beukes to remove “defamatory” remarks he posted on his Facebook account about it.
The WRP is accusing FNB of conspiring with Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein and National Assembly Speaker Peter Katjavivi to fraudulently open a bogus bank account with the bank under the guise of WRP.
“They have opened an account in the name of our party, without the authorised representatives, without the party knowing,” said Beukes, adding that this was in contravention of the Financial Intelligence Act.
In a dossier shared with Nampa, the party claims that the proceeds it receives from the NA for its two seats were paid into this bogus account on Katjavivi’s instruction.
“An estimated N$3.2 million is said to have been misdirected to Katjavivi,” WRP claims.
Katjivivi, has, through National Assembly spokesperson David Nahongandja, denied any involvement in the WRP’s financial matters, stating that the accusations levelled against him were “malicious, and border on character assassination.” – NAMPA