Some of the high-profile accused in the Fishrot scandal have lodged a fresh bail application in the Windhoek High Court. The application of former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, former managing director of Investec Asset Management Namibia (now Ninety-One) James Hatuikulipi, Pius Mwatelulo, Otneel Shuudifonya and Phillipus Mwapopi will be heard from 1 to 12 November.
Shanghala, Hatuikulipi and Mwatelulo had previously lodged bail applications, but abandoned them before they could be heard. This is the first bail application lodged by Shuudifonya and Mwapopi.
They argue investigations into the case are finalised, and as such the fear of the State that they will interfere with the investigation and/or interfere with State witnesses was no longer valid.
They also argue that the fear of abscondment is no longer a reality as they are apparently too broke to flee the country as all their assets were frozen by the State. The State will oppose the bail application, and argue that the main issue of the interest of society and the administration of justice still remain the biggest stumbling blocks to having the accused released on bail.
A joinder application will be heard on 20 September, in which the State will apply for the two Fishrot matters – Namgomar and Fishcor – to be heard as one before Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg.
All of the accused except former minister of fisheries Bernardt Esau and Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi, who is also the son-in-law of Esau, will oppose that application.
In the Namgomar matter, Esau, Shanghala, Hatuikulipi, Tamson, Ricardo Gustavo, Mwatelulo, Nigel van Wyk (Shanghala’s alleged lackey), Shuudifonya and Phillipus Mwapopi are charged with corruptly receiving payments of at least N$103.6 million to allow Icelandic fishing company Samherji to 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 Marén de Klerk, who is currently in South Africa. De Klerk, who is a lawyer, 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. Other accused are legal entities Erongo Clearing and Forwarding cc and JTH Trading cc represented by Tamson; MH Property Projects represented by James; Ndjako Investment cc and Fine Seafood Investment Trust represented by Shuudifonya; Otuafika Investments cc represented by Mwatelulo; Otjiwarongo Plot Fifty-one cc represented by Esau; Gwanyemba Investment Trust represented by Nghipunya, and Wanakadu Investment cc represented by Mwapopi. The accused have been 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. Three Icelandic Samherji employees, Ingvar Júlíusson, Egill Helgi Árnason and Aðalsteinn Helgason have also been charged. Árnason has been charged for his work for Esja Holding and Mermaria Seafood Namibia. Júlíusson was the financial director for Saga Seafood, Esja Investment and Heinaste Investments. They will be arraigned on two counts of racketeering in contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act; two counts of money laundering; three counts of contravening the Anti-Corruption Act; three counts of fraud with alternatives of theft and tax evasion; and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud. It is currently not known who the judge will be for the bail application.
Fighting on… Some of the Fishrot accused have launched another bail application.
Photo: Emmency Nuukala