Adidas N$2m lawsuit against Namibian businessman drags on

Adidas South Africa has approached the Windhoek High Court seeking to change its sole witness in a matter in which the company is seeking over N$2 million in damages from Namibian businessman Roland Jacobs, owner of the Street House stores.

According to court papers, the two parties entered into a partnership in May 2000 where Jacobs would be supplied with footwear, textiles and sport balls from a variety of sport groups for purposes of sale in the Street House stores in Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Oshakati.

Adidas, which filed a lawsuit in 2019, is claiming that the respondent breached their contract by failing to pay for the shoes delivered, amounting to N$1 969 903. 49.

The overdue amount has since been charged at an interest rate of 24 percent per annum, amounting to N$ 32 135 and bringing it to a total N$ 2 002 039.08.

Since the start of the lawsuit nearly three years ago, Adidas South Africa has terminated the long-standing business agreement dating back from 2000.

In its latest application, Adidas wants to replace their initial sole witness, Andrew Green with Mark van Deventer as a witness. Adidas claims that Green is unable to testify in court as his wife will be expecting a baby, during the commencement of the trial.

"It is a difficult and critical time for Andrew Green and his spouse. Andrew Green is required to support his spouse during this time as she needs his presence, material and emotional support, during this time. As matters stand, the applicant is unable to procure Andrew Green for trial. It would be unconscionable to compel Andrew Green who is presently attending to a family emergency to attend trial in circumstances where the trial can proceed without any prejudice to the respondent or the administration of justice.  It would not be fair to the applicant to have Mr. Andrew Green attend trial and have his attention split between his family obligation and this action, " Adidas argued.

The company further argued that testimony to be led by Mark van Deventer is similar to that which was going to be led by Andrew Green, that the respondent cannot claim that it would cause any prejudice.

"The application is reasonable in that it avoids the scuppering of the trial date," Adidas contends.

Jacobs, in his witness statement, confirms that he applied for credit with Adidas SA when he started his business during 1993 and 1994 and an oral agreement was entered between the two.

He alleges that Adidas SA has unfair pricing, that a rival competitor such as Studio 88 receives better price options than street house. He also claims Adidas has unfair products distribution policy in that companies like Studio 88 receive preferential treatment and given the opportunity to pre select their styles before it is offered to Street house, that they also are granted privilege to select the most popular styles and colours for the season, thereby depriving Street house of customers.

"It is evident that a competitor such as studio 88 is dictating to Adidas how to abuse its dominant position in Namibia to the benefit of such competitor or rival to the detriment of Street house. I furthermore add that the general goal and devious plan of Adidas SA was to eventually strangle small businesses like mine and to destroy us by withholding from us since 2014 certain products and styles to enhance and unfairly further and favour other distributors like studio 88 and sidestep, "Jacobs said.

The businessman argued that this is evident also in South Africa where Adidas closed accounts of smaller customers which had long standing accounts with them and helped build Adidas SA.

He has since demanded that Adidas is liable for payment to him in the amount of N$ 4.5 million, in a counterclaim.

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Last modified on Saturday, 23 July 2022 09:58

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