During his testimony yesterday in his ongoing bail hearing in the Windhoek High Court before acting judge David Munsu, Fishrot accused Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi continued to tarnish the name of Fishrot whistleblower Jóhannes Stefánsson.
According to several affidavits entered into the record by his legal representative Florian Beukes, and despite objections from the State, Stefánsson is being described as an alcoholic and drug addict.
They are further claiming that Stefánsson embezzled money from fish shops owned by Samherji Fishing, which is at the centre of the massive bribery and fraud saga.
This is to ostensibly question the credibility of Stefánsson, who is regarded as the 'star witness' of the State in the widely-publicised Fishrot criminal trial.
Tamson, together with his cousin James, 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.
The State is yet to extradite De Klerk from South Africa, as well as Icelandic nationals Ingvar Júlíusson, Egill Helgi Árnason and Aðalsteinn Helgason.
Tamson further testified that due to the continuous substance abuse of Stefánsson, he caused serious damage to the agreements reached between Samherji and the fishing rights holders in Namibia, and that he had to bail him out on a regular basis. That, he said, he did because it was part of the work he did for Samherji, for which he was paid. He further said that he never received bribes from Samherji.
“My Lord, why must I have been paid bribes? I was not a quota holder. I was paid in accordance with the work I had done. The money was paid lawfully for services rendered,” he stressed.
With regards to money paid to James, he said that was for the work he did for him in convincing the rights holders to sign for Samherji.
Furthermore, him and James had a long history of loaning each other money which started long before the court case. He added that it was their habit to have the money paid into their different entities.
The accused said the reason for Stefánsson implicating him in the Fishrot scandal was because he was angry since he refused to help Stefánsson do damage to Samherji.
“I did not want to do his dirty work because in my view, Samherji was not a bad company”. He continued that Stefánsson had an ‘overpowering motive’ for retribution against Samherji because of their treatment of him. Stefánsson wanted Samherji out of Namibia, as he had another Icelandic operator in mind.
According to Tamson, he was told by Stefánsson that he was dissatisfied with Samherji because they did not want to pay him his bonus for his efforts in Namibia and Angola.
The matter continues today.
Beukes is assisted by Richard Metcalfe, while Ezekiel Ipinge and Ed Marondedze represent the prosecution.