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Nghipunya to wait for constitutionality challenge

2021-11-15  Maria Sheya

Nghipunya to wait for constitutionality challenge

Former National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) CEO Mike Nghipunya was last week dealt a double blow by the courts when two cases he is involved in were postponed.

He has to wait for 11 more weeks to argue his constitutional challenge against parts of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA). 

Nghipunya was also before Judge Shafimana Ueitele in the High Court, fighting to be released on bail, pending the finalisation of the multi-million-dollar Fishrot bribery scandal. That matter was also postponed on Friday to run from 24 to 28 January, 31 January to 4 February and 21 to 25 February 2022. 

According to Nghipunya’s affidavit, he was hoping the constitutionality challenge would be finalised before his bail hearing as he wanted the court to consider him for bail without making use of section 61 in the CPA, which gives the court authority to refuse bail to accused persons on grounds of the administration of justice or public interest.

But judge Thomas Masuku relayed the view of Judge-President Petrus Damaseb, who had said the constitutionality challenge should be heard by a full bench of judges. This case was thus postponed until 31 January 2022.

In his application, Nghipunya is seeking a review and setting aside of a section in the CPA containing those words, declaring it unconstitutional, null and void, and of no force and effect in law. 

According to him, the words unduly
place an unreasonable limitation to his rights in Articles 7, 10, 11, 12, 22, 24 and 25 of the Namibian Constitution, and they exceed the limits of a constitutionally compliant
law.  Nghipunya also wants the court to review and set aside section 61 in the CPA.  The State has indicated it will oppose the application. 

Nghipunya is in police custody following his arrest in February 2020 on charges of fraud, contravening the Anti-Corruption Act and corruptly using an office for gratification, as well as money laundering.

 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 Nghipunya, alongside Esau, Shanghala and James used their offices or positions in a public body to obtain gratification and gain millions paid to them or entities of their choice between August 2014 and December 2019. 

He has since denied the allegations.

2021-11-15  Maria Sheya

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