Eddy Kayihura sheds some light on the issue surrounding the freezing of AFRINIC Financial Accounts on 23rd July 2021. Watch the video.
The main purpose of this video is to shed light on the issues surrounding the freezing of AFRINIC Financial Accounts on 23rd July 2021.
1) What is the current situation?
Last week, Friday, July 23rd 2021, one of our banks informed us that they received and enforced a court order to freeze 50 Million USD on AFRINIC’s accounts. The paperwork from the Bank states a debt of USD. 50 Million that AFRINIC may have contracted. This only affected the outflow of funds and we expect to hear more about it in the coming days when papers will be duly served to us.
I would like to emphasize that the procedure that the applicant used is a normal procedure that is accepted in multiple jurisdictions aiming to protect creditors and ensure that the debtor would not evade the payment once they hear about a claim against them. However, this is a temporary mechanism that allows the judiciary to operate in a safe environment until a decision by the court is made.
2) How have the AFRINIC operations been affected?
As we speak, all AFRINIC Services are continuing as normal and we do not foresee any service disruption or any lowering of the quality of service.
From the mailing list, One member raised a question about staff salaries and I am glad to inform you that the freezing order came after our payday and salaries had already been processed. At the moment, only three members of staff are yet to receive their July salaries and that is being attended to through internal solidarity mechanisms. It is important that I commend the attitude of my colleagues who have exercised patience during this time and shown continued commitment to the AFRINIC values of Excellence, Passion, Integrity and serving our Community. You are my heroes and a true embodiment of “AFRINIC en Avant"
We are fully conscious that such a situation will be hard to sustain in the long run and we are taking all the possible measures to address this.
3) What has been done so far on the legal side?
On Monday, July 26th 2021, the legal team that I would like to commend embarked on a series of activities aiming at soothing the situation.
Yesterday, we filed our own application for variation of the freezing Order before the judge in chambers of the commercial division of the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the commercial division of the Supreme Court issued a communique yesterday informing the public about the confirmation of a COVID 19 case in their premises. Meaning they remain closed only to open on Wednesday this week. We are however continuing to follow the application through the e-judiciary system.
4) What are the available options for AFRINIC?
Our first option is obviously that the court approves our variation request which would allow us to sustain all critical expenses that will enable us to continue serving the AFRICA region as well as the global internet ecosystem until the final decision of the court in this case.
We have also engaged our sister Regional Internet Registries to request for the joint RIR stability fund that was established back in 2015, this fund enables other RIRs to intervene to ensure the stability of the global internet. We would only trigger this option if our variation request is not successful.
We have an assurance of strong support from all of our counterparts, to ensure that AFRINIC remains empowered and strong, as part of the global RIR system; to continue to carry out our responsibilities and face any and all challenges ahead. Your continued support and advice remain valuable to us. MERCI.
On a side note, AFRINIC has been in operation for the past 17 years and we have established solid partnerships with our suppliers who could be also contacted for a grace period as we are dealing with the ongoing legal proceedings when the need arises. We will however do it in a reasonable manner without exposing the organization beyond its normal operational budget.
There could be other possibilities that we can explore but I will not delve much into them at this point.
5) A final message to AFRINIC Members
We would like to invite our members to continue their business as usual and expect utmost excellence in service from the AFRINIC Team. For those who have not yet paid their bills, we also encourage you to continue paying your dues as the inflow in the bank accounts is open.
We will keep you informed about the ongoing situation as often as possible and required. Should you face any challenges, feel free to escalate the issue through the mechanisms provided.
Chief Executive Officer, AFRINIC