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Fishrot lawyer must explain cash payment 

2020-02-27  Maria Amakali

Fishrot lawyer must explain cash payment 

Roland Routh & Maria Amakali

The Namibian anti-graft agency yesterday issued a summons against the charismatic South African lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi over a reported N$50 000 that was paid to him in October 2018 from State-owned National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor). The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is currently investigating a fraud case involving N$75.6 million allegedly diverted from Fishcor to various entities between August 2014 and December 2019. 

“At the moment, we are not linking him to the allegations but it is part of our investigation,” explained Josephine Nghituwamata, ACC spokesperson. Ngcukaitobi is currently in the country, representing former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau, former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, James Hatuikulipi and Pius Mwatulelo in an effort to have their arrest warrants set aside. 

The South African lawyer was in the High Court when he got served yesterday. This is the second application to have their warrants of arrests set aside, after Windhoek High Court acting judge Kobus Miller dismissed an urgent application they filed in December last year, deeming the matter not urgent. 

In the new application, they are asking the Windhoek High Court Judge Herman Oosthuizen to set aside or alternatively declare the warrants of arrests obtained against them on 26 November 2019 unlawful, null and void. 

They further want the decision of the ACC and its director general Paulus Noa, as well as the investigator in the matter who applied for the warrants of arrests to be reviewed and set aside, alternatively declared unlawful, and null and void. 

They also want an order declaring the decision of Noa to refer the matter to the prosecutor general for prosecution, as well as the decision of the PG to prosecute and the decision of the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court to remand the matter and keep them in custody as unlawful, and null and void. They further ask for costs in the matter. 

Esau was arrested alongside Shanghala, James and Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Mwatelulo following 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. The six are currently facing charges ranging from money laundering, fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to commit an offence, as well as corruptly using office for gratification. 

Suspended Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya has also been charged following his court appearance last week. It is alleged that during the period of August 2014 to December 2019, the accused person’s acting in common purpose directly or indirectly, corruptly and intentionally used their offices in public bodies to obtain gratification of N$76.6 million on the pretext that such amount was for government objectives being monies, which was meant for Fishcor from Saga Sea Food and Mermaria Seafood, and which money was paid to them or entities of their choice through Celax Investment Number One via the law firm DHC Inc. for their own benefit or the benefit of others. The matter continues today.

2020-02-27  Maria Amakali

Tags: Khomas
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