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Esau, Van Wyk roll final bail dice 

2023-09-04  Roland Routh

Esau, Van Wyk roll final bail dice 

High Court Judge David Munsu on Friday postponed the bail hearing of former fisheries minister Bernardt Esau and Fishrot minnow Nigel van Wyk to 9 October for a status hearing on the availability of the transcribed record.

This came after lawyers Florin Beukes and Mbanga Siyomunji finished their cross-examination of Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Investigator Andreas Kanyangela after a five-days grilling affair. 

Despite being bombarded with questions on the evidence and the manner of the investigation, Kanyangela stood firm in his resolve, maintaining the State has a prima facie case against the Fishrot accused. 

Kanyangela is also adamant that Esau is a flight risk. 

According to ACC top investigation, Esau has experienced prison life, and if released on bail, he would never wish to see the inside of the prison walls, ever, even when convicted. 

He further said that the US$4 million [around N$74 million] of the money the Samherji Group of Companies paid as bribes to access Namibia’s lucrative fishing waters is still outstanding and is believed to be in a Dubai bank. 

This, he said, would incentivise the Fishrot accused to abscond. 

Absconding of any of the Fishrot accused, it could be deduced from Kanyangela’s answers, is a risk too big to take, buttressing that if one of the accused abscond, it will damage the State’s case against the rest. 

The detective was also adamant that the two men formed part of a conspiracy to defraud the Namibian nation of valuable resources that could have benefitted ordinary Namibians. 

“Some of the accused were ministers and high-ranking officials who were supposed to protect the constitution, but instead they concocted a plan to line their own pockets,” in no uncertain terms, Kanyangela told Judge Munsu.

Likewise, Kanyangela maintained ardent opposition for bail to Van Wyk, who is accused of defeating the course of justice for allegedly removing incriminating documents from former justice minister Sacky Shanghala’s residence and interfering with police investigations.

Esau and van Wyk are asking the High Court to release them on bail on new facts after both had previous bail applications refused. 

They are charged alongside Shanghala, former Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya, former Investec Namibia (now Ninety-Nine) CEO Hatuikulipi, his nephew Tamson Hatuikulipi, former director of Namgomar Pesca Namibia director Ricardo Gustavo, Pius Mwatelulo, Otneel Shuudifonya and Phillipus Mwapopi with several counts of fraud, racketeering, money laundering, contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, theft, tax evasion and their alternatives.

It is alleged that they conspired to change the Marine Resources Act to give unfettered access to Namibia’s rich fishing resources to international fishing conglomerate Samherji in exchange for bribes of millions of Namibia dollars. 

It is alleged by the State that they received at least N$103.6 million to give a competitive advantage to Icelandic fishing giant in securing access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia. 

Also on the list of people to be added to the charges is lawyer Marén de Klerk, who is charged as a representative of Celax Investments, which was allegedly used as the conduit to funnel millions of dollars from Fishcor to the bank accounts of the accused.

The State is yet to extradite De Klerk from South Africa, as well as Icelandic nationals Egill Helgi Arnason, Ingvar Juliusson and Helgason Adelsteinn. 

The main trial is set to kick off on 2 October before High Court Acting Judge Kobus Miller. Advocates Ed Marondedze and Esekiel Ipinge represent the prosecution. 


2023-09-04  Roland Routh

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