Suspended CEO of the embattled State-owned fishing company Fishcor Mike Nghipunya was arrested yesterday in connection with the unfolding Fishrot bribery scandal. Nghipunya was taken in after questioning by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
“I can confirm that Mr Nghipunya was called in for questioning today (yesterday) in the morning, which then resulted in his arrest,” said ACC’s spokesperson Josefina Nghituwamata. Nghipunya is expected to make his first appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court today.
Nghipunya, who is well known as Tate Mike, is implicated in the Fishrot scandal and is suspected of having conspired with Iceland’s biggest fishing company Samherji to receive more than N$150 million in kickbacks in exchange for fishing quotas in Namibia.
Nghipunya is the seventh high profile person to be arrested, following last year’s arrest of former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau, ex-justice minister Sacky Shanghala, former MD of Investec Asset Management Namibia James Hatuikulipi, his cousin Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi, who is also the son-in-law of Esau and Ricardo Gustavo, a senior manager at Investec Asset Management Namibia and Pius Mwatelulo in November 2019.
The other accused are Windhoek residents Nigel van Wyk and Jason Iyambo, 35, as well as 47-year-old Sakaria Kuutondokwa Kokule, who is a member of the Namibian Police Reserve Unit.
This brings the number of people arrested in connection with the Fishrot scandal to 10. Esau and his co-accused are expected to make their second appearance in court this Thursday after their case was postponed for further police investigations. The documentary, ‘The Anatomy of the Bribe’ which aired on 1 December 2019 on global network television Al Jazeera Investigating Unit implicated Nghipunya. He could be seen acknowledging that he has worked before with coastal lawyer Sacky Kadhila-Amoomo in the fishing business. “As long as I am with Fishcor for the next five years, you will see that you can get quotas from me,” said Nghipunya in a conversation with undercover journalists, who had posed as potential investors. The continuous arrest of suspects follows as a result of reports that an Icelandic fishing company Samherji reportedly secured access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia by paying bribes of around N$150 million to politicians and businessmen between 2012 and 2018, according to the Fishrot Files of Wikileaks. According to media reports, Samherji’s CEO and biggest shareholder, Þorsteinn Már Baldvinsson, authorised the bribe payments.