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Shanghala fights for additional time

2023-12-07  Roland Routh

Shanghala fights for additional time

Politician and former justice minister Sakeus Shanghala has indicated his intention to fight against acting High Court Judge Moses Chinhengo’s refusal for additional time for him and two of his Fishrot co-accused to secure funding for legal representation.

Shangala indicated yesterday that he will request for a special entry to be made into the record of proceedings at the ongoing Fishrot trial. The former minister voiced these plans yesterday before proceedings were halted until Friday. 

The special entry will be in accordance with section 319 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which makes provision for special entries into a record on irregularities during the trial. 

Shanghala told New Era on the sidelines that the special entries will be on Judge Chinhengo’s refusal to properly consider his and co-accused James Hatuikulipi and Pius Mwatelulo’s requests for a postponement to secure funding for legal representation.

Also, he will further challenge the court on the judge’s appointment as acting judge, because the judge has already reached the age of 68, and the Namibian Constitution only makes provision for acting judges up to the age of 70. 

In light of this, Shanghala said, the judge’s appointment will be unconstitutional when he reaches 70 and will not be able to see the trial – which is expected to last about 10 years – through. 

Judge Chinhengo did not refer to any of these accusations in the ruling he made when he refused Shanghala’s’ application for a postponement. 

On Tuesday, the judge flatly refused to afford Shanghala and co-accused a postponement, and ordered the trial to proceed with the reading of the charges into the record. 

Meanwhile, the trial could not resume yesterday as Florian Beukes, who is representing former minister of fisheries Bernard Esau, was booked off sick for two days. 

Mbanga Siyomunji, on behalf of Tamson Hatuikulipi and Nigel van Wyk, was also absent. He, however, sent a text message to state advocate Ed Marondedze to explain that he was under the impression that the trial was set down for only one day, and has accepted other instructions out of town. Esau, Tamson and Van Wyk were all in coherence that they were not able to proceed without their lawyers. 

Considering the sick leave of Beukes, Marondedze had no objections to a postponement until Friday. 

Milton Engelbrecht, who appears for Mike Nghipunya, Otneel Shuudifonya and Phillipus Mwapopi, also had no objection to a postponement. But he suggested that the matter be remanded to the dates already set down for the hearing, being 30 and 31 January next year. 

Judge Chinhengo, however, remanded the matter to tomorrow. 

The accused, who also include Ricardo Gustavo, 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. 

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. 


2023-12-07  Roland Routh

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