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Home / Nghipunya handpicked for CEO role… admits not going through Fishcor interview process 

Nghipunya handpicked for CEO role… admits not going through Fishcor interview process 

2021-11-10  Roland Routh

Nghipunya handpicked for CEO role… admits not going through Fishcor interview process 
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Fishrot accused Mike Nghipunya was plucked from relative obscurity to the position of CEO for the National Fishing  

Corporation of Namibia and earning an annual salary of N$1.3 million.

The Windhoek High Court heard yesterday Nghipunya, who was an economist in the fisheries ministry, was never interviewed for the lucrative position.

Nghipunya, who was still under cross-examination in his ongoing bail hearing, admitted his appointment as CEO was not in accordance with employment procedures at the parastatal. 

This follows after deputy prosecutor general Cliff Lutibezi asked him how his appointment as CEO came about. According to Nghipunya, he was employed as an economist at the ministry of fisheries when he was seconded to Fishcor as acting CEO in May 2014.  This was followed by his subsequent appointment as substantive CEO in December 2016. However, he said, there was never any interviews held or advertisements published for the position. 

He further added that there were three persons more senior than him at the ministry when he was seconded. Lutibezi followed up with an assertion that Nghipunya was promoted to the position of CEO primarily for the setting in motion of what would turn out to become Fishrot.

Nghipunya vehemently denied this and said the State is desperately looking for “anything” that would link him to the scandal. According to him, the State has no chance of proving any of the charges against him and that he is a viable candidate for bail. 

“I need to be released on bail in order for me to prepare an adequate defence against these baseless charges against me,” Nghipunya told Windhoek High Court Judge Shafimana Ueitele. 

He further told the court all of the State’s fears can be cured by the imposition of strict bail conditions. He said charges against him are not based on facts and are confusing as the prosecution is claiming money was missing while all money was accounted for. 

The State, however, countered this, saying they do not claim money is missing, but that more than N$317 million was misappropriated and divided between the accused. 

“In Fishcor alone, at least N$167 million was illegally divided between the Fishrot accused,” Lutibezi charged. According to Lutibezi, various unlawful activities were conducted where at least N$15 million was converted to Gwanyemba Investment Trust in which Nghipunya has a big stake and also to Wanakadu Investment in which he had a purported 50% shareholding. 

Furthermore, Lutibezi stressed, Ndjako Investments in which Nghipunya also had a purported 50% share, received N$3.4 million from Low-Key Investments on 4 July 2018 that received “government objective” quota for hake from Fishcor. The prosecution claims the transaction was facilitated by Nghipunya. The money, Lutibezi said, was distributed between various entities including JTH Trading belonging to Tamson Hatuikulipi. 

A further N$3.8 million was again paid to Ndjako Investments for Low-Key Investments on 12 March 2018 which money was distributed between Fine Seafoods belonging to Otneel Shuudifonya, Otuafika Logistics belonging to Pius Mwatelulo and Gwanyemba Investment Trust. 

A further N$5.75 million was again paid by Low-Key Investments from 10 to 14 May 2019 which was distributed between Otuafika Logistics, Greyguard Investments belonging to James Hatuikulipi. Also, on 12 March 2019, Ndjako Investments received N$2.87 million, which was distributed between Otuafika Logistics and Shuudifonya. 

In total, Lutibezi said, Ndjako Investments received N$19.6 million from Low-Key Investments for third party quotas. Furthermore, Lutibezi charged, Wanakadu Investments received N$9.9 million from Low-Key Investments which was distributed between JTH Trading, Erongo Clearing and Forwarding belonging to Tamson and Greyguard Investments belonging to James. 

Nghipunya is facing 30 charges, including racketeering, contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, conspiracy, corruptly using an office to receive gratification, fraud, theft, and money laundering and defeating or obstructing the course of justice. 

Nghipunya and his co-accused Bernhardt Esau, Sacky Shanghala, Tamson and James Hatuikulipi, Pius Mwatelulo, Ricardo Gustavo, Shuudifonya, Mwapopi and Nigel van Wyk stand accused of corruptly receiving payments to give a competitive advantage to Icelandic fishing company Samherji in securing access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia. 

Also on the list of people added to the charges is lawyer Marèn de Klerk. 

The State is yet to extradite De Klerk from South Africa and Icelandic nationals Ingvar Júlíusson, Egill Helgi Árnason and Aðalsteinn Helgason. The State alleges that all the accused acted in common purpose. The matter continues today and the accused remain in custody.


2021-11-10  Roland Routh

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