WINDHOEK – The acting Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Albert Kawana has called upon all stakeholders in the fishing industry to work with him to ensure confidence is re-instilled in the industry and that jobs are created. Kawana made the call in a media statement sent out on Monday and after President Hage Geingob directed him to immediately undertake an assessment and evaluation of the existing processes and procedures relating to the management and administration of the country’s marine resources to recommendations to prevent and eliminate “if any, instances of maladministration, nepotism and/or corruption”.
Geingob’s directive came after the revelation of an international N$150 million kickback scandal, termed the Fishrot files, that rocked to the local fishing industry to the core. The scandal has led to the resignations of former fisheries minister Bernard Esau and his justice counterpart Sackeus Shangala, resulting in corporate casualties of high-profile individuals such as former Managing Director of Investec Asset Management James Hatuikulipi and Senior Manager at Investec Asset Management Ricardo Gustavo.
“It is in the aforementioned context that I will carry out my presidential directives with the assistance of all stakeholders such as the fishing industry, the workers, and indeed the general public. I, therefore, call upon all stakeholders to work with me with a view to ensuring that the fishing industry contributes to employment creation, especially among the youth and women, as well as instil investment confidence in this very important sector of our economy. I promise the nation that I will adhere to His Excellency’s wise words, namely accountability and transparency equals trust. I will soon travel to the fishing coastal areas to meet up with all stakeholders with a view to assure them that the government is ready to work with them as our strategic partners in the fight against corruption, poverty and unemployment,” read Kawana’s statement.
Kawana further called upon all stakeholders, especially workers and the fishing industry, to remain calm and trust government, as it moves with the necessary speed to address the challenges.
Kawana noted it is not his intention to discuss the merits of those who are alleged to have violated Namibia’s laws, saying: “Namibia has established institutions, processes and systems which are capable of handling such issues within the letter and spirit of the Namibian Constitution and other laws of our Republic. Simply put, let the law take its course”.
After the expose of the Fishrot files, President Geingob on November 23, 2019, said: “In the last few days, members of the public and civil society have been understandably expressing their anger over reported cases of corruption and maladministration, particularly in the fishing sector. I fully recognise that every citizen of Namibia has good reason to be disturbed by any instance of alleged corruption or maladministration, for corruption destroys the very fabric of our society”.
In the same breath, Geingob directed Kawana to review the affairs and administration of the ministry of fisheries and marine resources and state-owned fishing company Fishcor over the last 10 years or so, with a view to making appropriate recommendations – and in cases where he may discover instances of maladministration, to take corrective measures and such legal steps as he, himself, deems necessary.
“In this respect, he must be allowed, by all of us, space and time to carry out my directives in an efficient and unhindered manner,” said Geingob.
2019-11-29 09:14:45 | 4 months ago