One of the key figures in the Fishrot scandal Tamson Hatuikulipi has requested the High Court to disregard the affidavit of whistleblower and former Samherji executive Jóhannes Stefánsson.
Tamson believes the prosecution has no case without the evidence of Stefánsson.
“No averment is made by the applicant (prosecutor general) that Mr Stefánsson, who is a self-confessed criminal and alleged co-accused, shall come to Namibia to testify. I, therefore, submit that it is highly unlikely that Mr Stefánsson will come to Namibia to testify in our criminal trial,” said Tamson.
His notion forms part of the documents filed before the High Court against an application in which prosecutor general Martha Imalwa is seeking a final preservation order of various properties belonging to the Fishrot accused in relation to the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).
Imalwa has already obtained an interim property restraint order over a wide range of assets linked to Ricardo Gustavo, former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau, ex-minister of justice Sacky Shanghala, and former Investec Asset Management Namibia managing director James Hatuikulipi.
The forfeiture also includes the assets of Esau’s son-in-law Tamson, his wife Swamma Esau and daughter Ndapandula Hatuikulipi, and 10 companies in which they have interests.
Six Icelandic fishing companies also form part of the application.
The interim order was granted in November 2020.
Tamson, Esau and the Icelandic companies are also asking the court for an opportunity to cross-examine Stefánsson before the court makes a decision in the matter.
“Once Mr Stefánsson has been cross-examined, the entire POCA application against the defendants (Hatuikulipi and others) will be exposed,” explained Tamson.
He argues Imalwa has failed to indicate in her affidavit if Stefánsson will be in Namibia to testify during the trial, despite the State indicating he is the main witness in the case, who has not yet been given indemnity.
Without indemnity, Tamson said Stefánsson will be arrested upon entry into Namibia and his arrest and conviction will be based on his confession.
During one of the court appearances of the accused in the lower court, ACC investigator Andreas Kanyangela informed the court the State is yet to decide if Stefánsson will be considered as a witness or co-accused once the trial commences.
The Namibian this week reported Stefánsson will be in Namibia to testify when the time comes.
Imalwa has filed a notice to oppose Tamson and the Icelanders’ request.
Tamson and his co-accused are yet to be tried after being charged in two corruption cases, including the Namgomar matter in which they are charged with corruptly receiving payments of at least N$103.6 million to give a competitive advantage to Icelandic fishing company Samherji in securing access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia.
The second matter is of Fishcor in which Esau, Shanghala, Tamson, James, Mwatelulo and Nghipunya are facing charges ranging from racketeering to fraud and money laundering.
Also on the list of people to be added to the charges is lawyer Marèn de Klerk, who is charged as 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 and Icelandic nationals Ingvar Júlíusson, Egill Helgi Árnason and Aðalsteinn Helgason.
On 19 February, Iceland said it will not extradite its countrymen to Namibia due to the lack of an extradition treaty between the two nations.