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State admits irregularities in Fishrot-bribery case

2022-08-01  Maria Amakali

State admits irregularities in Fishrot-bribery case

The Windhoek Magistrate’s Court Thursday ruled there were irregularities committed in the handling of the bribery case of Fishrot accused, James Hatuikulipi and Sakaria Kuutondokwa Kokule and a review is warranted.

Magistrate Esme Molefe made an order to send the matter to the High Court for a special review after the State admitted there were irregularities committed.

According to Molefe, the High Court need to review and set aside court proceedings of 10 November 2020 that were presided over by Magistrate Ivan Gawanab.

Molefe noted that after Hatuikulipi and Kokule’s co-accused Jason Iyambo pleaded guilty and was convicted, there was a separation of cases. 

The no-guilty plea tendered in the first case was transferred to the second case, without the charges being put to Hatuikulipi and Kokule. 

“The transfer of the plea from case 426/2020 was an irregular act by the court. The second case should have been treated as a new case and the charges should have been put to the accused,” said Molefe.

She noted the State’s request for the accused to tender a plea to the charges cannot be granted, as they will be pleading to the same charges twice – which would be unlawful.

Molefe’s order for a review was a result of Hatuikulipi’s lawyer Gilroy Kasper pointing out the State’s failure to furnish them with the prosecutor general’s decision for the second case for which the trial was scheduled to start yesterday. This led to the discovery of the irregularities committed during the court proceedings of 10 November 2020.

Hatuikulipi and Kokule were to be tried on charges ranging from corruptly giving gratification as an inducement, bribery or alternatively improperly influencing an authorised officer and defeating or obstructing the course of justice. 

Iyambo, who confessed and admitted guilt to the charges, has completed his nine months of imprisonment. 

In his plea statement, Iyambo implicated Hatuikulipi. According to Iyambo, Hatuikulipi asked him to obtain bank cards of a co-accused in the Fishrot case, Pius Mwatelulo, and a handwritten document titled “Total Allocation” which had also been seized by the ACC.

Hatuikulipi wanted the Bank Windhoek cards for Omvindi Investment CC and Otuafika Logistics issued to Mwatelulo.

Iyambo admitted he offered a bribe of N$250 000 to Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigator Junias Iipinge in Windhoek on 20 January 2020. However, the investigating officer went to his superiors at the ACC and reported the incident.

Jermaine Muchali is representing Kokule while Ian Malumani is representing the State.

2022-08-01  Maria Amakali

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