The Honourable Alan GANOO Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade Newton Tower Sir William Newton Street Port Louis Republic of Mauritius
The Honourable Maneesh GOBIN Attorney General Attorney General’s Office Renganaden Seeneevassen Building Port Louis Republic of Mauritius
Dear Hon. Messrs Ganoo and Gobin,
We are writing to you from The Number Resources Society, a global non-profit organisation focused on collective effect to improve transparency and accountability of Regional Internet Registries. The Number Resources Society have hundreds of members cross dozens of countries in five continents, including in Mauritius representing at least a billion people' s internet service provider and their collective interests.
You are in receipt of a letter from Number Resource Organization (12 July 2022) demanding you to interfere in ongoing court cases and therefore interfere in the rule of law and in the democratic principals of the Republic of Mauritius.
The signatories to this letter, Paul Wilson, John Curran, Oscar Robles, Hansa Petter Hollen are Chief Executive Officers of private companies. They are asking you and your government to interfere in your country's judicial process - something that they would never dare request in their home nations. The arrogance and entitlement of these Chief Executives is shocking and indictive of a wider problem in the governance of global internet.
You will be aware that AFRINIC, as well as APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC and RIPE NCC, are membership lead, community based organisations and the CEOs of these private companies do not have the power to interfere in other countries affairs. The CEOs speak only for themselves, not the members of their respective organsiations.
Regional Internet Registries interference in Mauritius' rule of law
It is of grave concern that the Number Resource Organisation have attempted to place pressure on you to influence the independence of Mauritius' justice system. Their attempt to place political pressure on you by threatening to relocate AFRINIC from Mauritius is a disgraceful attempt to interfere in the domestic political environment and must be rejected.
We are concerned that these individuals intervention is a violation of sub judice law in Mauritius and potentially be in contempt of court. We urge you to pass this evidence onto the appropriate investigation and public prosecution teams.
Mauritius was chosen as a host for Africa's internet registry because Mauritius is a democracy based on the rule of law. These CEO's take offense at disputes being litigated by members of AFRINIC and their response is to threatened to move AFRINIC to a jurisdiction, one assumes that does not uphold the same standards in democracy, civil society and the rule of law.
There letter is a direct attack on the sovereignty of Mauritius and attempts to undermine the principles of democracy in your country. Respectfully, as a democracy, only the people of Mauritius should have a say in how your government should act not the CEOs of four small private companies.
The authors of this letter only speak for themselves as individuals, not the members they claim to represent. This arrogant top down approach by these NRO CEOs have taken, in trying to influence your country's justice system, must be resisted. You may find that their interference constitutes a crime and that they should be prosecuted.
Unfounded demands for diplomatic status
Absurdly, they seem to be demanding diplomatic status for a private company - AFRINIC. This status is not conferred on any of the organisations they head yet they seem to think it is acceptable to demand it of the African internet registry.
It would be absurd to give diplomatic, or international organisation, status to a private company registered in Mauritius. Their only motivation seems to provide diplomatic immunity to individuals who are under investigation for corruption and illegal activity. It is for the courts to resolve these matters.
The government of Mauritius should feel under no obligation to succumb to these requests. Members do not believe that these organisations should be granted diplomatic status or any other privilege reserved for international organisations or sovereign states under the Vienna Convention.
Number Resource Organization lies
The letter from Paul Wilson, John Curran, Oscar Robles and Hansa Petter Hollen contains multiple factual errors designed to mislead you and mislead the public of Mauritius.
AFRINIC have been sued by at least seven different parties worldwide under current leadership and management who are currently being rightfuly suspended. Their letter includes a lie in which it states the member who stopped AFRINIC's election being the particular member mentioned in their letter. This is not true.
Members have a desire to remove corrupt leaders from inside AFRINIC and are taking a stand against the corruption and abuse of power identified in AFRINIC. Multiple members have turned to the Mauritian courts to pass judgement and the Number Resource Organization intervention is trying to undermine the rights of the AFRINIC community to right a wrong by taking grievances to independent courts to be heard by impartial judges.
NRS supports the impartiality of Mauritius
We want you to know that we are aware that the actions of the Number Resource Organization and the authors of this letter have placed the government of the Republic of Mauritius in an impossible position. The attempt at interfering in both your domestic politics and diplomatic relations will not go unchallenged by independent, impartial members.
Mauritius has good diplomatic relations across Africa, the Indian Ocean, India, China and Europe. Mauritius is uniquely placed to help build internet provision globally and members continue to support your efforts in doing so.
The AFRINIC community will defend the impartiality of Mauritius' justice system and uphold the rule of law. We have faith in your independent institutions investigating and prosecuting the corruption inside the Regional Internet Registry system.
The attempt by NRO to interfere in your country is not in the name of the individual members. Their actions are in direct conflict with our values and ideology.
The government and people of Mauritius should be aware that NRO cannot relocate AFRINIC to anywhere else without the approval of members. We can assure you that members will not allow this to happen and therefore their hollow threats are meaningless. NRO's actions is a failed attempt to put undue influence on your individual ministers and law officers, your government and the judiciary.
A new election is coming at AFRINIC where members’ priority is to remove the corruption and rebuild the registry so it is fit for purpose for all internet uses.
The members of The Number Resources Society would like to place on record our thanks to the government and people of Mauritius for hosting AFRINIC. We have faith in the rule of law and your democratic principles.
Rather than attacking Mauritius, the suspended CEO Eddy Kayihura of AFRINIC, should be asking other Regional Internet Registries to be thanking Mauritius for hosting AFRINIC rather than threatening and interfering in your country's independence.
Under Mauritius law, all information related to court cases shall be confidential. It is extremely alarming that legal files were read by NRO per their statement:
"the legal files are now replete with expert affidavits speaking of unlawful behavior on the part of the litigant." This level of interfering with the judicial system is intolerable and we believe is another example of contempt of court. We urge you as Minister's in the government to pass the latest evidence of wrongdoing to the appropriate investigation and public prosecution teams.
Those organizations taking action against AFRINIC and their representatives in the Mauritian courts may see NRO’s letter to you as an attempt to interfere in the due legal process the claimants (and defendants) have a right to. As a result, further legal action may now be necessary to bring this matter to the Court’s attention.
Members of The Number Resources Society call on them to withdraw the letter and apologise to the government and people of Mauritius for their actions. Paul Wilson, John Curran, Oscar Robles, Hansa Petter Hollen and Number Resource Organizaton should be ashamed of their letter to you attempting to interfere in the rule of law and democratic principles in Mauritius. They wouldn't dare do it in their home country so why do these individuals think they have a right to attempt to interfere in the legal and democratic principles that govern Mauritius?