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Staff Writer

Paratus Telecom boss Barney Harmse has challenged the City of Windhoek to make public the findings of a forensic report into the 5G scandal which rocked the municipality two years ago.

A report surfaced that ex-councillor, Brunhilde Cornelius, was offered a bribe by a local politician to ensure Chinese tech giant Huawei wins an exclusive contract to build the 5G telecommunication network in Windhoek.

The City has, in the meantime, refused to comment, saying that the investigation into the 5G scandal was never meant for public consumption.

However, Harmse has questioned why there has been no progress on this matter, vowing that he would not keep quiet about it. 

“Is this story just going to die down now? I ask you with the deepest respect, why aren’t we all following up on what happened then, what is happening to the police and ACC investigation?” he said.

City spokesperson Harold Akwenye said the council conducted the internal investigation and that it remains the council’s internal matter. 

“The investigation was never intended for the public. It remains an internal staff-related matter. Mr Kandjiriomuini is late, and the City has no further intended action against his estate. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” he said.


Paratus-CoW Battle Far From Over

In 2018, the City of Windhoek moved in, using its city police officers to stop the telecommunications company, Paratus Telecom, from carrying out its work, claiming that it was unlawfully digging municipal land. 

The City proceeded to confiscate the equipment of Paratus’ sub-contractors, sparking a court battle which spilt into the High Court.

It turned out to be a legal showdown which the City lost.

Acting Judge Petrus Unengu ruled that the City, its chief executive officer, and the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) may not unlawfully interfere with or obstruct Paratus Telecommunications’ installation of a fibre optic cable.

He ordered that the City’s council, its CEO and CRAN were not to interfere with or obstruct Paratus’ exercise of its rights in line with the Communications Act.

Further, the City was interdicted from unlawfully grabbing the company’s equipment which it used for the installation of fibre optic internet services network in certain parts of Windhoek.

Dissatisfied by the judgment, the City proceeded on appeal to the Supreme Court, arguing that the High Court judge had erred in law in his passing of judgment.

Again, the City of Windhoek lost out, and received a tongue lashing from the Supreme Court judge, who submitted that the entity had violated the rule of law and illegally resorted to brutal force by means of its use of the City Police.

While the Supreme Court judgment is final and seems to have put the final nail in the coffin on the case between the City and the telecommunications company, Paratus CEO Barney Harmse believes that the battle is far from over.

Speaking to Eagle FM on Tuesday afternoon, Harmse emphatically stressed that certain Strategic Executive Officers maliciously and deliberately targeted his company in the City, who included the now departed Reckliff Kandjiriomuini. 

Harmse has also come out to claim that Kandjiriomuini had vowed to bring down Paratus.

“Yet we were the only ones that were stopped or harassed 14 times by City Police in two years. Nobody else was stopped. You know that everybody knows that. Why were we being targeted? Because we were difficult? Because we didn’t adhere to instructions to stop trenching? Because we were interfering with their business plan?”

“Who are the individuals at the City of Windhoek that’s been driving this since day one and do not stop driving this? There have been certain Strategic Executives that’s been there for 20 years, and are they going to stop? And are they going to sit there for the next 20 years? Who are the culprits?”

“I know for a fact that, and sometimes councillors tell me this, when new councillors come in, they are directly advised by the Strategic Executives immediately, that listen, know your place when you come to the council. You are going to be long gone, and we will still be sitting here. The question is, how long is this nonsense going to continue? Back in the day, Mr Reckliff Kandjiriomuini said he would close down this company, and I accepted that challenge,” he said. 

Then in July of 2020, the then City of Windhoek councillor Brunhilde Cornelius dropped a bombshell to the effect that she was offered a bribe by a local politician to ensure Chinese tech giant Huawei would win an exclusive contract to build the 5G telecommunication network in Windhoek.

Cornelius implicated the Rally for Democracy and Progress’ (RDP) Nicanor Ndjoze.

This report came on the same day CRAN held a public hearing on the reconsideration of the granting of a Class Comprehensive Telecommunications Service License for the City.

Now with the Supreme Court having ruled in favour of Paratus, the City of Windhoek is faced with a mountain of legal costs to pay the telecommunications company.

Harmse has submitted that, unfortunately, it is going to be the taxpayer who will have to foot the bill and not individual persons in the City.

“You (taxpayers) are going to pay my legal fees and this company’s legal fees. Where do you think the City of Windhoek is going to find money to pay for our legal fees?” he said. 

He has also revealed that for the time that Paratus was restricted from carrying out its work of laying fibre optic cable in the City, it lost millions of Namibian dollars.

He, however, refused to disclose how much the company has bled. 

The City’s Harold Akwenye has, however, denied any intentions to bring Paratus down.

“There is no intention to from council to destroy Paratus,” he said. 





Staff Writer

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