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Prison ban delays Fishrot joinder application

2021-07-23  Roland Routh

Prison ban delays Fishrot joinder application

The two Fishrot matters were yesterday remanded back to the criminal mentions roll of Windhoek High Court judge Christie Liebenberg on 19 August.

The judge remanded the matter in chambers as the accused could not attend the matter as the correctional authorities imposed a total lockdown at the facility, meaning that no inmate may receive visitors, including from their legal representatives, or leave the facility until further notice. 

According to the Namibia Correctional Services, the lockdown was necessitated by the recent upsurge in Covid-19 cases, to keep the virus contained.

The matter was postponed on 12 July when the judge was supposed to hear an application to join the two Fishrot matters – Namgomar and Fishcor – as one to yesterday to determine a date for the application. 

As there is still no clarity on whether the prisons will be opened, Judge Liebenberg postponed the matter to the next mentions roll for the fixing of a date to hear the joinder application.

All of the accused, except for former minister of fisheries Bernardt Esau and Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi, who is also the son-in-law of Esau, will oppose the application.

In the Namgomar matter, Esau, Shanghala, Hatuikulipi, Tamson, Ricardo Gustavo, Pius Mwatelulo, Nigel van Wyk - Shanghala’s lackey -, Otneel Nandetonga Shuudifonya and Phillipus Mwapopi are charged with corruptly receiving bribes of at least N$103.6 million to allow Icelandic fishing company Samherji secure access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia.

In the Fishcor matter, Esau, Shanghala, Tamson, James, Mwatelulo and former CEO of Fishcor, Mike Nghipunya are facing charges ranging from racketeering to fraud and money laundering. Also on the list of people to be added to the charges is De Klerk who is currently in South Africa. De Klerk is charged as a representative of Celax Investments, which was allegedly used as the conduit to funnel millions of dollars from Fishcor to the bank accounts of the accused.

The accused will be charged with seven counts of racketeering, 12 counts of contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, four counts of fraud, alternatively theft and four counts of money laundering.

The accused remain in custody after several unsuccessful bail applications and appeals.

2021-07-23  Roland Routh

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