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Fishrot application to question Imalwa dismissed

2022-03-31  Roland Routh

Fishrot application to question Imalwa dismissed

An application by Fishrot accused to cross-examine prosecutor general Martha Imalwa and her star witness Johannes Stefansson, in her application to have their assets declared forfeited to the State, was dismissed yesterday by Windhoek High Court Judge Orben Sibeya.

Esja Holdings, Mermaria Seafood Namibia, Saga Seafood, Heinaste Investments (Namibia), Saga Investment and Esja Investment wanted the High Court to compel Imalwa and Stefansson to give oral evidence during the hearing for the POCA (Prevention of Organised Crime Act) application.

In affidavits filed with the court, the Icelanders want an opportunity to question Imalwa about issues raised in the notice of motion. They, furthermore, want an opportunity to question Johannes Stefansson, Imalwa’s star witness, who they claim is unlikely to come to Namibia and testify. They also want the court to dismiss Imalwa’s application against them, saying that they will not be charged and tried together with the other accused persons in the criminal matter.

In an affidavit filed by his lawyer Joos Agenbach, Ingvar Juliusson claims although the POCA application by the PG relies on common purpose to mount to a criminal prosecution against the defendants, the PG has not criminally charged the Icelanders, nor do they face criminal proceedings in Namibian courts. 

“I dispute that defendants 17 to 22 will be charged with the rest of the accused. The PG knows that the Icelandic prosecution authorities refused her extradition request on 19 February 2021,” said Juliusson.

Imalwa, however, already indicated that the Icelandic companies together with the directors will form part of the accused in the trial.

Judge Sibeya also dismissed an application by the Icelandic companies for leave to argue the dismissal of the restraint application against them and ordered that they must pay the costs of the PG on a scale of one instructing and two instructed counsels.

The parties in the restraint application by the PG are former Fisheries and Marine Resources minister Bernard Esau, former Justice minister Sakeus Shanghala, former Managing Director of Investec Asset Management James Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo, Tamson Hatuikulipi, and his wife, Ndapandula Hatuikulipi, as well as her mother Suama Esau. The six Icelandic companies, whose directors are Juliusson, Adalsteinn Helgason and Egil Arnason, are also listed in the application.

They are part of the Fishrot scandal in which the accused allegedly benefitted from bribery to the tune of more than N$130 million.

The former ministers, together with former Chief Executive Officer Fishcor Mike Nghipunya, Pius Mwatelulo, suspended city cop Phillipus Mwapopi and suspended Otjozondjupa Regional Council employee Otneel Shuudifonya, Ricardo Gustavo (on bail) and Nigel van Wyk, are facing more than 40 counts including 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.

It is alleged by the State that they corruptly received payments to give a competitive advantage to Icelandic fishing company Samherji in securing access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia. 

Also on the list of people added to the charges is lawyer De Klerk. The State is yet to extradite De Klerk from South Africa.


2022-03-31  Roland Routh

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