Former National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) CEO Mike Nghipunya is in for a long haul after his hit-and-run trial was postponed to next year.
The accused faces counts of culpable homicide, reckless or negligent driving, and failing to report an accident within 24 hours to law-enforcement agencies. It was scheduled to start yesterday, but had to be postponed as his defence team was not ready.
The 36-year-old is accused of having disregarded a red traffic light in Windhoek on 16 August 2017, resulting in a collision in which a man lost his life. During court proceedings in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Samson Enkali, who was standing in for Nghipunya’s defence lawyer Kadhila Amoomo, said there was no time to consult and prepare for the trial as the Windhoek Correctional Facility where Nghipunya is housed was on lockdown. He thus requested for the case to be remanded.
Before postponing the case to 7 and 8 February 2022, magistrate Ivan Gawanab questioned why the consultations were not done earlier since the last postponement was on 25 November 2020.
Although he is on bail for this case, Nghipunya is currently in police custody following his arrest in February 2020 on charges of fraud, contravening the Anti-Corruption Act and corruptly using his office for gratification, as well as money laundering.
In that case, he is charged alongside former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau, former minister of justice Sacky Shanghala, former Investec Asset Management Namibia managing director James Hatuikulipi, Esau’s son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi and Pius Mwatelulo.
The prosecution is alleging that Nghipunya, alongside Esau, Shanghala and James, used their offices or positions in a public body to obtain gratification to get their hands on N$75.6 million that was paid to them or entities of their choice between August 2014 and December 2019.
During his failed bail application, Nghipunya denied the charges and said in an affidavit, read into the record by his then lawyer Advocate Thabang Phatella, that he had no idea why he was charged as he never acted unlawfully in his duties as CEO of the state-owned Fishcor.