High Court dismisses Intelligence gag on Patriot with costs

High Court dismisses Intelligence gag on Patriot with costs

High Court Judge Harald Geier on Monday dismissed the Namibia Central Intelligence Service’s (NCIS) application to bar the weekly Patriot newspaper from publishing a story about the acquisition of NCIS properties with costs.
Judge Geier in his judgement said he needed to balance what the law says and the constitutional provisions for free speech and the press.
He also said the NCIS did not make clear to the court what information they wanted to protect and that other papers have already published the information that they wanted to protect.
This emanates from an urgent interdict sought by the state security in April to stop the Patriot from publicising allegations of corruption.
Director General of the NCIS, Phillemon Malima, through state lawyers, argued that the agency ought to operate and acquire services under a veil of secrecy and thus circulation of such information is prohibited in the interest of national security.
State lawyer, Advocate Dennis Khama said the agency is not required to disclose any information to any authority, including the judiciary, on its operations.
Khama also said that it is illegal to share any information about the agency whether it is allegations of corruption or not.
Lawyer Norman Tjombe, who represented the Patriot, dismissed the arguments as baseless, saying exposing corruption or suspicions does not threaten national security in any way.
Mathias Haufiku, the editor of the Patriot said, "I expected the judgment to be in our favour because we had a solid case from the start and our legal team was flawless. In a democracy, all stakeholders must conform to the rule of law, be it the media or any state agency.