After having been dealt a hard blow in the lower court in July, former fisheries minister Bernard Esau and his son-in-law Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi have now approached the High Court appealing the court’s decision to deny them bail.
In their notice of appeal to the High Court, the two claimed magistrate Erich Kesslau erred in his judgement when he denied them bail on grounds that it would not be in the interest of the public nor administration of justice to release them on bail pending the finalisation of their case.
Amongst the many grounds for appealing, they argued Kesslau ignored the fact that the ongoing investigations commenced in 2014 and to date the State has no idea when it will conclude its investigations.
In July, Kesslau ruled that the argument that suspects in white-collar crime should be granted bail is the reason why the public has lost trust in the justice system.
He ruled despite the State’s failure to prove, the accused are a flight risk and will interfere with ongoing investigations adding that there is a strong case against Esau and Hatuikulipi.
The State also managed to prove there is public interest and the court could not ignore the obvious family link between the accused, according to Kesslau.
Esau and Hatuikulipi were arrested on 27 November 2019, alongside former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, James Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Pius ‘Taxa’ Mwatelulo.
They are all facing counts of fraud, bribery, corruptly using the office for gratification, money laundering and conspiring to commit corruption.
These charges emanate from them receiving more than N$103 million in bribes from an Icelandic fishing company Samherji for the continuous supply of horse mackerel quotas in Namibia.
The prosecution has charged the group for defrauding the Ministry of Finance when they made misrepresentations to the Directorate of Inland Revenue that Namgomar Pesca Namibia generated revenue of N$14.1 million from 2014 to 2019, whereas the company actually generated revenue of N$40.1 million.
The group alongside former Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya face fraud charges relating to N$75.6 million allegedly channelled from Fishcor to several law firms and entities to the benefit of the accused.
Esau and Hatuikulipi will be represented by Richard Metcalfe. They are yet to receive dates for the hearing.
2020-08-10 09:17:34 | 1 months ago