By Tileni Mongudhi and Mathias Haufiku | 18 June 2020
MINISTER of home affairs, immigration, safety and security Frans Kapofi says there was no need to isolate Russian billionaire Rashid Sardarov’s flight crew when they arrived in Namibia last weekend. The crew came to Namibia to fly the billionaire to Russia.
The Namibian understands Sardarov’s crew arrived last Friday and departed over the weekend without being quarantined.
Details of the flight come at a time the government said it was aware of the Sardarov plane frequently flying in and out of the country during the state of emergency.
A document seen by The Namibian shows the government sanctioned the controversial billionaire’s flight last week.
Kapofi said Sardarov was not being favoured, but confirmed the Russian was allowed to leave the country and return to his native Russia.
He said Sadarov’s plane came from Europe just to fetch him and that the crew did not disembark, or they would have been quarantined.
“Sardarov was on his farm in Namibia for the duration of lockdown,” said Kapofi.
Minister of justice Yvonne Dausab yesterday said under the current regulations, international travels are still prohibited.
She told The Namibian the only people allowed to enter the country during this period are Namibians returning from foreign countries and essential workers – especially health workers and consulate employees.
The minister said all people entering the country will be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Foreigners in Namibia are, however, allowed to leave.
Dausab said she was not aware of any private flight that entered the country.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security as well as hte Ministry of Works and Transport all sanctioned Sardarov’s trip.
This is after the Russian’s Namibian lawyer Sisa Namandje wrote to the government seeking permission for his client’s private aircraft to land in Namibia.
Namandje last month sought authority for Sardarov’s Bombardier jet to land at the Hosea Kutako International Airport and for the oligarch to fly out of Namibia on 14 June.
Executive director of works and transport Wilhencia Uiras wrote to Namandje on 12 June, stating that the “Ministry of Works and Transport has no objection to granting the necessary flight clearance for the aircraft to land and depart from Hosea Kutako
International Airport on 14 June 2020 provided that all regulations related to the Covid-19 state of emergency and related directives are adhered to”.
Her letter further reads: “We have observed the increased frequency of entries into and out of Namibia by the specific aircraft during the state of emergency and we urge you to abide by the travel restriction imposed through the state of emergency Covid-19 regulations.”
Popular Democratic Movement leader McHenry Venaani asked the government to explain Sardarov’s plane’s entry into Namibia.
In 2018 Sardarov made headlines in Namibia when he bought four farms outside Windhoek for more than N$43 million, despite a public outcry about the sale of land to absent foreign landlords.
The flamboyant businessman wrapped up this transaction about a week before national leaders met in Windhoek for the second national land conference.
Sardarov bought the farms through his Switzerland-based company, Comsar Properties SA, to add to the 28 000 hectares he bought in 2013 at Dordabis, south-east of Windhoek.