The only role Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi, one of the key figures in the Fishrot scandal, played in the Samherji negotiations was that of the son-in-law of the then minister of fisheries, Bernhard Esau.
“You were only the conduit to the minister,” State advocate Hesekiel Iipinge told Hatuikulipi in no uncertain terms.
He denied it categorically.
According to Iipinge, Hatuikulipi is only mentioned as the son-in-law of the minister in various communications between the executives of Samherji, the Icelandic fishing giant at the heart of the Fishrot scandal.
Hatuikulipi continued where he left off yesterday with his refrain, “I have no knowledge of these documents and [I am] not the author of such documents and as such cannot comment on it.”
Iipinge was questioning Hatuikulipi on his relationship with Esau in his bail application on new facts before High Court Acting Judge David Munsu.
He further accused Hatuikulipi of using his new-found connection to Esau as a tool to become involved with the Samherji group of companies, who were looking for an entry into the Namibian fishing industry.
With Iipinge hammering him with the content of emails, suggesting that he was involved in the setting up of Namgomar, the changing of the Marine Act to allow Esau to award quotas to the Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) for “governmental objectives” and also to Fish Consumption Trust, which in turn was sold to Samherji for a song.
Iipinge also told Hatuikulipi the invoices he sent to Samherji for “consultancy work” was bogus, as he never did any actual work for Samherji – and all the payments he received from them were bribes.
“Neither you nor your fellow accused did any work for Samherji, except for giving them unfettered access to Namibia’s fishing grounds through dubious means, and you were paid for it,” Iipinge told Hatuikulipi.
He further said that while Samherji’s accountant Adell Pay mentioned in her affidavit that payments made to Hatuikulipi’s entities were for “consultancy work”, she could, however, not confirm that any consultancy work was in fact done.
With regards to how he was paid, Hatuikulipi said that Samherji would contact him and tell him to invoice them as well as how much he should invoice them, which he then did.
An astonished Iipinge then wanted to know how is it possible that Samherji can tell him what amount to invoice them for work he did.
“How could you allow someone to determine the value of your work?” he wanted to know.
This is just to show that the payments you received were for bribes, he stressed.
Hatuikulipi, together with his cousin James Hatuikulipi, the former Fishcor board chairperson; his father-in-law and former minister of fisheries Bernhardt Esau; Ricardo Gustavo (on bail); former justice minister Sacky Shanghala; James Hatuikulipi; former Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya; Pius Mwatelulo; Otneel Shuudifonya; Phillipus Mwapopi and Nigel van Wyk are facing more than 40 counts comprising 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 State alleges that all the accused acted with a common purpose.
Also on the list of people added to the charges is lawyer Marén de Klerk.