Former minister of fisheries Bernhard Esau yesterday abandoned another bail appeal just minutes after it was supposed to start before High Court Judge Johanna Salionga.
His lawyer Richard Metcalfe told the judge they are not ready to proceed, and asked that the matter be removed from the court’s roll.
According to him, they still need some documentation and medical reports to use in the matter.
The judge agreed and removed the matter from the roll.
Esau is charged alongside former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, former Fish Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) CEO Mike Nghipunya, former Investec Namibia (now Ninety-nine) CEO James Hatuikulipi, his nephew Tamson Hatuikulipi, former director of Namgomar Pesca Namibia director Ricardo Gustavo, Pius Mwatelulo, Otneel Shuudifonya, Phillipus Mwapopi and Nigel van Wyk with several counts of fraud, racketeering, money laundering, contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, theft, tax evasion and their alternatives.
It is alleged they conspired to change the Fishing Act to give unfettered access to Namibia’s rich fishing resources to international fishing conglomerate Samherji from Iceland in exchange for bribes worth over N$150 million.
Esau, alone, is facing two counts of racketeering, four counts of money laundering, ten counts of corruptly using his office for gratification for himself or others, five counts of fraud, one count of theft, one count of tax evasion and conspiracy to commit fraud.
It is alleged that he benefitted a minimum of N$5.4 million from the Fishrot scandal.
Esau was the minister of fisheries and marine resources from 2010 until November 2019.
He signed the memorandum of understanding with his Angolan counterpart Victoria de Barross, which paved the way for him to award fish quotas to Namgomar, the State is alleging.