Schlettwein irked by judge handling reinsurance battle

 

A judge who shut the door in the face of the finance ministry to appeal a High Court ruling that favoured of insurance companies is conflicted and should be disqualified from the case, Calle Schlettwein has come out to claim.

 

This comes shortly after the finance ministry and Namibre failed, via court action, to have the companies reinsure their insurance locally pending the outcome of a separate legal battle in connection with the same issue.

 

The companies include Sanlam, Santam, Trustco, and Hollard and these scooped a victory in the high court via a judgement which allowed them to continue selling insurance outside the country.

 

The minister had objected to this claiming that billions of dollars were being bled out of the country when they could be localised to benefit the economy.

 

After having failed in this bid, the minister resorted to appealing the case to another case, a move which got blocked by acting Judge Frank.

 

However it has come out that the judge had earlier represented the interests of the insurance giants in a separate case, the minister claimed.

 

“Mr. Acting Justice Frank was counsel for the association then representing several of the current respondents and the interests of the insurance industry generally, in those earlier proceedings,” said the minister in a letter written to the registrar.

 

Schlettwein said he has asked the Supreme Court to convene as matter of urgency in an open court of three judges.

 

He said the conflict of interest had not been disclosed to all parties in the case prior to the laying down of the ruling.

Said the minister, “Had they been disclosed, I would have been constrained to object to the judge in question dealing with the matter.

 

Justice Frank’s ruling to refuse the ministry permission to appeal to the Supreme Court is as such null and void, the ministry has said.