Fishrot accused Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi has offered unbonded properties valued at N$16 million as security to be released on bail. The Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday also got a glimpse into the wealth of the businessman who, through his affidavit, confirmed owning property to the value of N$40 million and cars worth N$12 million.
Tamson, who has formally applied for bail alongside his father-in-law and former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau, said he has earned every single cent from his many business ventures. Tamson owns multiple vacant erven, houses and apartments in towns such as Windhoek, Ondangwa, Ongwediva, Eenhana, Gobabis, Langstrand and Swakopmund.
Tamson said he was offering his unbonded properties, valued at N$16 million, to the State as security for bail. He said he is willing to pay N$200 000 for his release from police custody.
Both Tamson and Esau are charged alongside former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, his cousin James Hatuikulupi, suspended Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya and Pius Mwatelulo for allegedly having conspired and channelled N$75.6 million from Fishcor between August 2014 and December 2019.
The court was yesterday also informed of the confirmatory affidavit from James in favour of his cousin Tamson’s release from custody. In the affidavit, James admitted to having authorised close to N$3 million from two entities that are believed to have received more than N$75 million from the state-owned fishing company, Fishcor. The money allegedly went through Celax Investment Number One and the law firm De Klerk, Horn & Coetzee Inc. James, who is a former Fishcor board chairperson, admitted he gave the directive for funds to be transferred from Celax Investment Number One and the law firm De Klerk, Horn & Coetzee Inc to two business entities owned by Tamson. Tamson admitted that he indeed received money from his cousin after he had requested for it as a loan. He further explained they regularly loaned money to each other. “I honestly did not believe that there was anything untoward since James lent me the money,” said Tamson. Close to N$3 million was transferred to Tamson’s companies: Erongo CC and JTH Investments.
Meanwhile, Tamson accused the former employee of Samherji-turned-whistleblower Jóhannes Stefánsson of being a drug addict, adding he was a disgruntled former employee using the Fishrot scandal as revenge against his employer.
Tamson informed the court that Stefánsson had fallen out with his employer in 2016 after the company allegedly failed to pay him a bonus. “Stefánsson felt that his employer did not want to pay him his bonus, of which he felt entitled to after all the work he had done for the company in Namibia and Angola,” said Hatuikulipi. During the same year, Hatuikulipi found out from Stefánsson’s employers that he had embezzled funds from the company, which he used to satisfy his drug addiction. Tamson said he does not own any fishing rights and every cent he has received from Samherji was for the consultancy work he has rendered to them.
However, Willem Olivier, a senior investigator from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), said through their investigations and consultation with Samherji’s accountant, the company never contracted Tamson or his company for consultancy work. Olivier testified that Esau signed off fishing quotas to Nengomar Pescar SA, which investigations revealed that it is non-existent. “In actuality, these quotas that were awarded to Nengomar Pescar SA were instead received by Nengomar Pesca (Pty) Limited in Namibia. Samherji conspired with the accused under the guise of the bilateral agreement in order to benefit themselves,” said Olivier. Namgomar Pescar Namibia and Samherji agreed on a N$500 per metric tonnes usage fee. The court heard 25% would be paid to Namgomar in Namibia and the remaining 75% would be paid to Tundavala, an entity registered in Dubai and owned by James. “During our investigations, we uncovered that the price for that particular agreement was not market-related, as other companies paid N$3 000 per metric ton over a period of ten years,” said Olivier. According to investigations, Nengomar Pesca and Tundavala Investment received large sums of money from different subsidiaries of Samherji. Nengomar Pesca (Pty) Limited then distributed some of the money in the amount of N$11 million to Ricardo Gustavo, N$12 million to Otuafika CC, N$29 million to JTH Investments and N$20 million to Erongo CC.
Erongo then transferred N$3.2 million to JTH investments, N$5.5 million to Fitty Entertainment, N$1.8 million to James, N$300 000 to AL Investments (a company owned by Tamson and his wife). Olivier stated that thus far, there is no evidence of money being paid to entities or individuals in Angola.
The bail hearing continues today. – firstname.lastname@example.org