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Fishrot trial to start today

2023-12-05  Roland Routh

Fishrot trial to start today

The much-anticipated fish corruption trial of key figures in the Namibian society is set to start this morning if everything runs smoothly.

The trial, dubbed ‘Fishrot’, involves former Cabinet ministers Bernardt Esau and Sacky Shanghala as well as several top businessmen. 

It will start with the plea at 10h00 before acting High Court Judge Moses Chinhengo, who was seconded from the Zimbabwe circuit. 

While several of the accused indicated they were not ready for trial, Judge Chinhengo was adamant the trial should start soonest. 

The accused, who also include Ricardo Gustavo, James Hatuikulipi, Pius Mwatelulo, Tamson Hatuikulipi, former Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya, Otneel Shuudifonya, Phillipus Mwapopi and Nigel van Wyk, are charged with corruptly receiving payments of at least N$300 million to give a competitive advantage to Icelandic fishing company Samherji in securing access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia. 

They are facing more than 40 counts, comprising racketeering, contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, conspiracy, corruptly using an office to receive gratification, fraud, theft and money laundering, as well as defeating or obstructing the course of justice. 

Esau is represented by Florin Beukes; James, Shanghala and Mwatelulo by Vas Soni (SC), instructed by Murorua, Kurz and Kasper; Nghipunya, Shuudifonya and Mwapopi by Milton Engelbrecht, and Tamson and van Wyk by Mbanga Siyomunji. 

Gustavo is representing himself.  

The State will be represented by advocate Cliff Lutibezi, assisted by advocates Ed Marondedze and Esekiel Ipinge. 

Also on the list of people to be added to the arraignment 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. 


2023-12-05  Roland Routh

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