The chief legal adviser of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust), Joshua Kaumbi, has filed a N$500 000 lawsuit against the university’s spokesperson, John Haufiku, for allegedly defaming his character.
Kaumbi, in court documents filed with the High Court last week, claims Haufiku on 4 July accused him on a Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) television show called ‘One-one-One’, of being suspended from the university in April for leaking information to the media.
Kaumbi claims Haufiku on the same day on national television said an email, text messages, as well as witnesses information was leaked to have come forth.
“So, for us, that is not a mere allegation. That is a smoking gun. There is an accuser, there is a witness and we have the physical evidence,” Haufiku allegedly said.
According to Kaumbi, Haufiku’s alleged comments were understood by the interviewer and the viewers of the programme to mean and were intended to mean that Kaumbi conspired with certain media houses to bring Nust’s reputation into disrepute.
Kaumbi says the comments were also perceived to mean that he breached his fiduciary duties towards Nust, that he lacks professional ethics and integrity, and that he is dishonest and untruthful towards the university.
He says the comments portray him as disloyal towards Nust.
“The defendant [Haufiku] published the statements with the intention to injure the plaintiff’s [Kaumbi’s] reputation and to lower his esteem . . ,” Kaumbi said.
Kaumbi says Haufiku published the statements with the intention of violating his human right to dignity, and that his statements were wrongful and defamatory.
He says Haufiku did not disclose that he himself raised the complaint against Kaumbi with Nust and was therefore conflicted with a personal interest.
“The defendant’s [Haufiku’s] injurious, false, defamatory and unlawful statements achieved their purpose in that the plaintiff’s reputation was injured and his dignity was violated by the said statements,” he says.
“As a result of the defendant’s injurious, false, defamatory and unlawful statements, the plaintiff’s constitutional right to human dignity, protected by article 8 of the Namibian Constitution, has been violated. The plaintiff has consequently suffered damages in the amount of N$500 000,” Kaumbi says.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Haufiku said: “I have made it my life’s work to understand the parameters of speech and dialogue, so I stand by everything I have said on this matter.”
Two weeks ago, The Namibian reported that Kaumbi has taken the university to the High Court in an attempt to force it to set aside his suspension.
In an affidavit filed at the court, Kaumbi claims his suspension is unlawful, irrational and unreasonable.
He says his suspension is vague and does not specify any relevant details of the alleged major misconduct he is accused of.
He says his suspension is contrary to section 4 of the Public Enterprises Governance Amendment Act of 2015.
“I am a senior manager of the first respondent [Nust]. I am a member of the executive management of the first respondent. I am a person whose suspension is governed by the directive issued by the then minister of public enterprises,” he says.
Nust, through its lawyers, Dr Weder, Kauta & Hoveka Inc, has filed a notice to defend Kaumbi’s suspension.