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Judge questions advance payments to Mwapopi

2022-01-27  Roland Routh

Judge questions advance payments to Mwapopi

Roland Routh

Windhoek High Court Judge Shafimana Uietele on Tuesday questioned the advance payments for “consultancy work not yet done” by bail-seeking Phillipus Mwapopi. 

The judge posed the questions at the end of his cross-examination by prosecutor Cliff Lutibezi. 

During his cross-examination, Mwapopi revealed he received several upfront payments, amounting to millions of dollars, from various fishing entities for consultancy work yet to be done. 

In fact, the judge wanted to know how he could issue invoices in January for consultancy work to be carried out during the next six months and then again in June for consultancy work to be carried out during July to December. 

Mwapopi was at pains to answer, and he explained he had a contract with Deep Ocean Processors to provide consultancy services such as catering, vessel maintenance and repairs. 

He explained he provided training on personal hygiene and whether to order prepared meals or procure raw foodstuff to prepare on board.

The judge further had an issue with Mwapopi receiving payments for the whole of 2018 while his “contract” with the fishing entity was terminated in April 2018. 

He explained that although the contract was terminated, the company had to fulfil the stipulations of the contract and paid him out for the full duration of the contract period.

After he was excused from the bench, South African senior advocate Vas Soni informed the court he is on record for former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, former CEO of Investec Namibia James Hatuikulipi, and Pius Natangwe Mwatelulo – and that his clients would not take the stand but will rely on a notice of motion supported by an affidavit for their release on bail.

In their affidavits, the three Fishrot accused commonly argue the criminal proceedings against them are a result of unlawful investigations by the Anti-Corruption Commission, certainly in respect of the racketeering and money laundering charges. 

According to them, the ACC is not allowed to investigate cases under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca) under which the charges of racketeering and money laundering fall. 

“Documents that form part of the court files in the proceedings make it clear that the investigations were initiated, spearheaded – and for the most part, they were conducted by members of the ACC. Accordingly, they argue, it is obvious that since the ACC is not sanctioned by their Act to investigate instances of racketeering and money laundering, the prosecutor general cannot institute such charges on a lawful basis.”

 They further indicated they will formally challenge the lawfulness of the institution of the charges of racketeering and money laundering or at least the lawfulness of the decision to charge them with the offences.

Shanghala, James and Mwatelulo are facing two counts of racketeering and four counts of money laundering, as well as several counts of using office for ratification, fraud, theft and tax evasion. 

Shanghala faces a separate charge of defeating or attempting to defeat the course of justice with another accused Nigel van Wyk.


2022-01-27  Roland Routh

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