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Fishrot: Shanghala fights for ‘neighbours’

2024-05-21  Roland Routh

Fishrot: Shanghala fights for ‘neighbours’

Former justice minister and attorney general Sacky Shanghala yesterday put up a gallant fight to have his co-accused returned to the C section of the Windhoek Correctional Service’s trial-awaiting section.

This is after James Hatuikulipi, Mike Nghipunya, Phillipus Mwapopi, Otneel Shuudifonya, Pius Mwatelulo and Ricardo Gustavo were unceremoniously moved from that section and relocated to the general cells, where perceived ‘common criminals’ are kept.

However, Shangala and his fellow former minister, Bernard Esau, were not moved.

Hatuikulipi lodged an urgent application to interdict the prison authorities from implementing and/or executing the decision, and Shanghala acted on their behalf.

They are asking Windhoek High Court Judge Boas Usiku to issue a rule nisi (order), calling on the respondents, particularly the officer-in-charge of the Windhoek Correctional Facility, to show cause, if any, why it should not be, and is hereby restrained and interdicted from carrying out the decision.

They are further asking that Commissioner Ankur Kuthria, the head of information and communication technology, be directed to stop harassing and being oppressive and tyrannical towards Hatuikulipi.

They also want the court to, in due course, issue an order to stop the Windhoek Correctional Facility from relocating them to the general population of the trial-awaiting section.

Shanghala argued that the general population area is not conducive to doing research and preparing for their criminal trial, as it is noisy and resembles a raucous circus.

He said the matter is about the protection of their fundamental rights such as the right to life, dignity and a fair trial.

He submitted that the prison authorities infringed on these rights by placing them in the general population, thereby restricting their ability to properly prepare for the criminal trial. 

The matter is thus urgent because of the very conduct of the authorities to curtail their preparations for trial.

They cited the minister of home affairs, immigration and security Albert Kawana; the head of the Namibian Correctional Service, Commissioner Raphael Hamunyela; the Khomas Regional Commander, Leonard Mahumbu; Commissioner Kuthria; the officer-in-charge of the facility Veikko Armas; as well as the deputy officer-in-charge, Oscar Numwa, as respondents.

Advocate Slysken Makando, who was instructed by the government attorney, appeared on behalf of the respondents. He argued that the matter is not urgent – and in the alternative, the urgency is self-created.

In any event, he said, the matter is moot, as the applicants were already moved to the general population section.

Furthermore, the applicants have not met the requirements for an interdict, as they seek incompetent relief because they have not brought a review application to set aside the decision to relocate them.

He further said it is the right of the prison authorities to place an inmate where it deems fit, and no inmate has a right to choose which accommodation he or she finds acceptable.

According to Correctional Services rules, extra security is only accorded to inmates who served in the police, army, prison service or Cabinet.

Makando asked the court to dismiss the application with costs.

The accused are in custody for allegedly corruptly receiving payments of at least N$300 million to give a competitive advantage to Icelandic fishing company Samherji in securing access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia.  They 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. 

- rrouth@nepc.com.na


2024-05-21  Roland Routh

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