Suspended Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya’s bail application was remanded until next week Tuesday for submissions on the ruling to be delivered by deputy chief magistrate Ingrid Unengu.
Nghipunya, who has been in custody for several months, is asking to be released on bail pending his trial on charges of fraud, contravening the Anti-Corruption Act and corruptly using office for gratification as well as money laundering.
In this case, Nghipunya is charged alongside former fisheries minister Bernhardt 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.
On the charge of corruptly using office for gratification, the prosecution is alleging that Nghipunya alongside Esau, Shanghala and James used their offices or positions in a public body to obtain gratification to obtain N$75.6 million that was paid to them or entities of their choice between August 2014 and December 2019.
He denied the charges and said in an affidavit read into the record by his lawyer, Thabang Phatela, instructed by Milton Engelbrecht, that he has no idea why he has been charged.
He also states that he fails to understand how he could be charged with the alleged crimes of which he is being accused and that he had no intention to act unlawfully in his duties as CEO of the state-owned Fishcor.
“I firmly assert that I am innocent of these charges,” Nghipunya said in the statement.
Chief investigator at the ACC Willem Olivier, during his evidence, said that the State opposes bail on the grounds that Nghipunya is a flight risk as he has family and business interests in Angola.
He further said the ACC has been informed that Nghipunya already tried to cash in on investments he had with Old Mutual and that he was busy “alienating properties he owned at Windhoek and Omuthiya”.
Phatela asked Olivier during cross-examination whether he has any records to show that Nghipunya indeed did that to which Olivier replied that he has reliable information.
He also questioned the investigator’s evidence that public interest in the matter is another ground for refusal of bail. “The interest of the public is not equivalent to public interest as envisaged in our constitution which guarantees that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty, not in a court of public opinion, but in a competent court of law,” he said.
He further said that giving bail to an accused person does not exonerate that person of the charges, saying it merely gives such person a chance to carry on with their life while waiting for trial. In his affidavit, Nghipunya repeatedly said he is denying guilt on the charges he is facing, he will be pleading not guilty when he goes on trial and he will not flee or interfere with the investigation of his case if released on bail.
He was suspended from his post at Fishcor near the end of last year.
Deputy prosecutor general Ed Marondedze and prosecutors Cliff Lutibezi and Salomon Kanyemba are representing the State.
2020-06-11 10:07:52 | 28 days ago