Defence lawyers representing some of the Fishrot accused attempted to destroy the credentials of the chief investigator of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Andreas Kanyangela, who is the State’s star witness in the ongoing bail application.
From questions about his qualifications to innuendos he is biased against the accused in his testimony and claims that his family is involved in a dispute over a house in the Omusati region, the defence lawyers of the six Fishrot accused currently applying for bail are doing their best to discredit him.
Yesterday morning during the continued cross-examination of Kanyangela, Vas Soni, the South African advocate of former minister of justice Sacky Shanghala, former chair of the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) James Hatuikulipi and Pius Mwatelulo, claimed Kanyangela is deliberately opposing Shanghala’s bail application because of the continued feud between his and Shanghala’s families over a residence in the north.
Kanyangela vehemently denied this and said that he does not know Shanghala’s family, and only knows of his father.
Soni accused Kanyangela of deliberately not investigating and not showing concern over the health of Shanghala and Hatuikulipi who allegedly reported ailments while in custody.
Kanyangela answered arrangements can be made with prison authorities to accommodate the accused. He further said as educated persons, the accused should have known the consequence of their corrupt activities would be incarceration.
When Soni asked him if he has already convicted them, he said their guilt would be proven. He was also adamant the accused will interfere with State witnesses as they have already proven it when Hatuikulipi allegedly tried to bribe an ACC officer, while Shanghala is accused of sending his employee and now co-accused Nigel van Wyk to his house to remove incriminating items. Soni then accused Kanyangela as a person who makes up his mind and then presents it as facts while he failed to ascertain the veracity of such information.
Thabang Phatela, on behalf of former Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya, likewise accused Kanyangela of being close-minded. He said Kanyangela is reluctant to divulge information when it favours the accused, but was quick to divulge if it puts the accused in bad light.
“Your attitude is so biased, Mr Kanyangela, that you cannot be trusted,” Phatela told the witness to his face. With regards to Nghipunya’s appointment as CEO of Fishcor,
Phatela said documentary evidence shows that it was done above board and not underhanded as Kanyangela claimed. He said there is a board resolution, which explains Nghipunya was appointed on the basis of his “strong” performance while in an acting capacity at the State-owned enterprise.
This information, Phatela claimed, was known to Kanyangela, but he did not divulge it to the court, which shows his reluctance to bring to light facts in favour of the accused.
Kanyangela is facing cross-examination from Phatela in the bail hearing brought by Shanghala, Hatuikulipi, Mike Nghipunya, Mwatelulo, suspended City Police officer Phillipus Mwapopi and suspended Otjozondjupa Regional Council employee Otneel Shuudifonya before Windhoek High Court Judge Shafimana Ueitele.
The six men, together with Esau, Ricardo Gustavo (on bail) and Tamson Hatuikulipi 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.
The matter continues today.