The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) director general, Paulus Noa, said the anti-graft agency will not be dictated on how to investigate the fishrot matter.
“ACC cannot take investigations directives from Mr Metcalf and company. Moreover, none of them has furnished evidence to ACC since 2014 to date,” said Noa.
He further stressed that ACC knows how to consequentially conduct investigations based on available evidence.
Noa was responding to New Era queries following a letter from Tamson Hatuikulipi’s lawyers Metcalfe Beukes Attorneys criticising the way ACC was investigating the ongoing fishrot case that is before court.
On 23 October 2020, ACC announced they have seized Hatuikulipi’s car, a Mercedes Benz SL 65 AMG under the registration number FITLAS NA.
The vehicle was taken from Hatuikulipi’s home in Langstrand, Walvis Bay.
The vehicle, valued at more than N$1.3 million, was seized as part of ACC’s investigations into the Fishrot saga.
In the letter, the lawyers claim the seizing of the vehicle was turned into a public spectacle when the police cordoned off the street and ACC officers effecting entry to an unoccupied home.
“You are requested to advise just how the attachment of the Mercedes Benz SL 65 AMG, which is subject to a hire purchase agreement and still owned by a banking institution, aids in your investigations.
Until the affidavit in support of your search warrant is received, it will be assumed that this was a publicity stunt, aimed at influencing a contrived public interest to show the court that a public outcry exists in support of the ACC,” reads the letter. Metcalfe Beukes Attorneys further claim that two prominent lawyers, whose trust accounts were used to launder money according to ACC investigations, have not been arrest nor prosecuted.
“Now almost a year later, the ACC has obviously still not made a decision on such lawyers – yet it indulges in cheap publicity stunts to divert public attention from real issues burning in public interest,” says Metcalfe Beukes Attorneys.
However, Noa said what matters are that the vehicle in question is registered in the names of Hatuikulipi, who is one of the suspects in the corruption matter under investigation.
In addition, payments for the vehicle were made from the bank account of the company, which is also a subject of ongoing investigations.
“The rest of utterances are not worth responding to. He may have recourse to competent court of law if aggrieved by the attachment of the vehicle by ACC,” said Noa.
Noa explained that the matter has drawn public interests because of the alleged millions of public monies corruptly and fraudulently laundered for gratification.
He said the anti-graft body may share investigation progress with the public when appropriate and in the public’s interests, said Noa.
Hatuikulipi was arrested alongside former cabinet ministers Bernhard Esau and Sackeus Shanghala, as well as businessmen James Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Pius Mwatelulo on 27 November 2019.
They are facing counts of fraud, bribery, corruptly using office for gratification, money laundering and conspiring to commit corruption.
They are accused of acting in common purpose with the intent to defraud the Namibian government by signing a bilateral agreement purporting to be in the interest of Namibia but instead entered into the said agreement for their benefit.
The prosecution is further alleging they received more than N$103 million in bribes from an Icelandic fishing company Samherji for the continuous supply of horse mackerel quotas in Namibia.
In addition, the prosecution is charging the group for defrauding the ministry of finance when they made misrepresentations to the Directorate of Inland Revenue that Namgomar Pesca Namibia generated revenue of N$14.1 million from 2014 to 2019, whereas the company actually generated revenue of N$40.1 million.