Ongandjera king wants N$15m from NBL – Heineken deal

Johannes Mupiya

. . . King told to pay back money paid to him nine years ago

Ongandjera King Johannes Mupiya is threatening to take legal action against a black empowerment entity if it does not pay him N$15 million in profits.

This payment was part of a deal that resulted in Heineken buying out the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group in NBL Investments.
Heineken acquired a 50,01% stake in NBL for N$5,4 billion last year.

One of the beneficiaries in that deal is Epia Investment Holdings, a politically connected outfit that included heavyweight businessmen, such as the late Aron Mushimba.

Epia Investment Holdings owned a 49% stake in NBL and benefited from the Heineken deal.
Now, the Ongandjera king wants N$15 million paid to him.

The demand is contained in a letter he wrote through his lawyer, Apollos Shimakeleni, to Epia Investment Holdings.

In that letter, Mupiya claims he is entitled to the money as part of his inheritance from his uncle, the late Ongandjera chief Jafet Munkundi, who held a 14,28% stake in Tuakondjeni Investments, a subsidiary of Epia.

“In 2023, O&L sold its majority stake in Namibia Breweries to Heineken South Africa. As a result, Epia opted to sell its stake back to O&L.

“This meant the income to Epia was higher for the year 2023, and our client was entitled to a payment in the amount of N$15 million,” Shimakeleni further says.

In a turn of events, Shimakeleni claims Mupiya was surprised to be told by the company that it intended to pay the funds into Munkundi’s estate, instead of paying it to him.

“Epia approached our client and offered him participation in the empowerment initiative, which our client accepted. As part of the agreement, our client has been receiving regular dividend payments from 2013 to date from Epia.

“These dividends were inclusive of Epia’s dividends earned from its shareholding in O&L,” Shimakeleni’s letter reads.

“Our client’s receipt of dividends over the years was never premised on any conditions whatsoever. We have also been advised that you have recently drafted a purported acknowledgment of debt, which you have asked our client to sign.

“Our client shall not sign such an acknowledgment of debt as the dividends paid to him were not paid on the understanding that they will be paid back to Epia, nor has our client sought any loan from Epia,” Shimakeleni says.

He demands that if the company fails to pay the funds to Mupiya by 23 February, he will institute legal action in the High Court.
Epia was formed in 2002 by O&L as a black empowerment company, following talks between the late tycoon Karl Werner List and founding president Sam Nujoma.

Shimakeleni says Munkundi died in June 2012, Mupiya was appointed as the new chief.

Following this and Epia Investment Holdings approached Mupiya and offered him an opportunity to participate in their company, which he accepted.


Munkundi ruled Ongandjera for 41 years. He died at 83 in 2012 after which Mupiya took over the kingship.

In response to Mupiya’s demand, Epiya claims the traditional leader is not the rightful heir, and that the N$15 million belongs to Munkundi’s estate, currently controlled by his widow, Hertha Munkundi.

“By way of background, it suffices to mention that when the late king died, we wrote a letter to the family, which was handed to the family spokesperson, Mr Mupiya (now the king), in which we informed the family we needed a directive from the Master of the High Court to deal with the estate,” Epia’s executive chairman, Tjeripo Hijarunguru, said in a letter addressed to Imalwa Estates and Trust on 23 January.

Hijarunguru said then justice minister Utoni Nujoma, auditor general Junias Kandjeke and O&L’s corporate affairs manager Gideon Shilongo visited his office in June 2013 to inform him that Mupiya is the sole heir of Munkundi’s estate and the 14,28% interest in Tuakondjeni Investments CC.

It is not clear what their roles are in Munkundi’s stake in the company.

Documents from the master of the High Court show Munkundi’s wife, Hertha, is the executor of her late husband’s estate.
Munkundi was Mupiya’s uncle. He left behind 17 children.

The law of intestate succession in Namibia states that if a person dies without leaving a parent, brother or sister an inheritance, the surviving spouse inherits the whole estate.

Mupiya declined to comment on the matter this week.

The widow’s niece, Aina Onesmus, said Munkundi appointed his wife as the heir to his estate.


Documents show Mupiya was paid N$1,3 million from the profit distribution of Munkundi’s shares in Tuakondjeni Investments between September 2013 and September 2022.

Kandjeke and Shilongo disputed having met with Epia’s chairman to discuss Mupiya’s role as the sole heir of Munkundi’s estate.

“The information where my name is mentioned is not accurate,” Shilongo said.

Kandjeke this week said he has never visited the Epia office, nor has he had any discussion about Mupiya being the sole heir to Munkundi’s estate.

“Maybe he [Hijarunguru] can explain more, because I don’t even have any relationship with anything to do with Epia.

“I think maybe he made a mistake to include my name. I have never been involved in Epia’s affairs or Tuakondjeni. In that case, I cannot tell them what to do about anything,” he said.

Kandjeke said he does not remember any meeting between himself, Hijarunguru, Mupiya and Nujoma.

However, Hijarunguru this week insisted that Mupiya, Kandjeke, Shilongo and Nujoma were at his office and informed him that Mupiya was the sole heir of the estate.

“It was the three of them. The king came with a high-powered delegation, including the honourable minister, auditor general and a senior director of O&L,” Hijarunguru said.

Nujoma did not answer numerous calls to his cellphone.

He did not respond to two text messages The Namibian sent to him either.

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