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Fishrot: PDM demands answers from Noa

2020-02-06  Eveline de Klerk

Fishrot: PDM demands answers from Noa

WALVIS BAY – The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) said it would table a motion to summon Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) director general Paulus Noa to explain why Namibians implicated in the Fishrot saga had their assets frozen, while foreigners allegedly involved have free range.

PDM president McHenry Venaani raised his discontent in a letter addressed to the ACC after the Samherji-linked vessels, Saga and Geysir left the country, leaving over 200 crewmen without jobs.
There are now fears that the Namibian authorities will not be able to hold Samherji accountable for its part in the Fishrot saga.

A third vessel, Heinaste, which was embroiled in an ownership dispute is also expected to leave the country on Friday after a court application to have the vessel forfeited to the State was dismissed yesterday in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s court.

“In a previous letter we proposed that the properties of Samherji in Namibia should be seized and or frozen until they are cleared of the alleged corruption element or any wrongdoings surrounding Samherji. We are very disappointed and aggrieved that the senior members of our society like yourselves who occupy very important strategic positions of trust fail in executing your fiduciary duties,” Venaani wrote to Noa. He added that PDM would table a motion to summon Noa to parliament to explain why the foreigners are allowed to move their assets from the country.

“This way he can come and provide inferential answers under oath as to why he refused and or failed to execute his duties. We are giving you 15 working days to explain to the Namibian people why there has been no arrest made of Icelandic nationals, and properties seized like it has been done with Namibian officials,” Venaani charged.

Several institutions such as Namport also came under fire after the fishing vessels left under the pretence that they were going for repairs but would only come back if they were chartered to catch quotas for right holders.

Namport acting CEO Victor Ashikoto yesterday indicated that the clearance for both fishing vessels was done according to procedure and due diligence in order to comply with the port regulations and the Namibian Merchant Shipping Act, and all clearance certificates were requested from the agents before releasing the vessels. 

According to Ashikoto as per normal procedure the vessels provided clearance from the fisheries ministry, department of maritime affairs and the police in order to be released.

“There was no court order to arrest these two fishing vessels, so Namport had no obligation to detain them.  Namport as an authority is mandated to manage and exercise control over the operation of ports, lighthouses and other navigational aids in Namibia and its territorial waters; as well as to provide facilities and services normally related to the functioning of a port. The movement of vessels into and out of port limits is managed by Namport under the leadership of the port captain and the vessel traffic is managed by port control,” he said.  He explained that all fishing vessels operating in Namibian waters are licensed by the fisheries ministry to catch fish while the directorate of maritime affairs is the custodian of Namibian waters and gives final approval for a vessel to enter or leave Namibian waters.

2020-02-06  Eveline de Klerk

Tags: Erongo
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