WINDHOEK, 12 APR – The High Court on Thursday granted an urgent interdict requested by the Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) to stop The Patriot from publishing an article pertaining to several properties owned by the service.
Mathias Kashindi, the lawyer representing the NCIS, stated in a letter dated 11 April 2018 and addressed to the newspaper’s editor, Mathias Haufiku, that the paper is prohibited from possessing, disclosing or publishing information pertaining to the NCIS. The Patriot alleges that the properties are occupied by former spies of the NCIS through the association of former members of the service and their relatives at the expense of taxpayers.
Kashindi said information relating to properties of the NCIS falls within the scope of sensitive matters.
“In terms of the provisions of the Protection of Information Act, No. 84 of the 1982 read with the provision of the Namibia Central Intelligence Service Act No. 10 of 1997, possession, disclosure, and or publication of that information is prohibited and constitutes a criminal offense,” said Kashindi.
“As a result of this position, your request to be provided with answers in respect of your questions and/or to confirm or deny the veracity of the information that you have [requested] is denied,” he said in the letter.
Kashindi’s directives stem from questions in a letter dated 10 April 2018 in which Haufiku wrote to NCIS director, Benedict Likando, in which he sought answers on numerous NCIS-owned properties and their usage.
The properties in question include two farms, a house in Windhoek and a bed and breakfast facility in Swakopmund.
The Patriot was set to publish the article in its Friday edition, however, the NCIS is of the view that should the article be published, it would compromise national security.
For now, The Patriot heeded the call to not publish the article.
To defend its stance on why it should go ahead and publish the article, The Patriot indicated that it had no intention of publishing the locations of the properties, but wants to find out what these properties are used for and why they are occupied by retired spies.
The Patriot was represented by Norman Tjombe, while Dennis Khama and Kashindi represented the NCIS and the Government.
Judge Harold Geier presided over the case in the Windhoek High Court on Thursday.
The case has been postponed to 20 April 2018 to allow both legal teams ample time to prepare their affidavits.
In the meantime, the Patriot and NCIS have been requested to submit their affidavits to the High Court on Monday and Wednesday respectively.