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State wants Fishrot cases tried as one

2021-05-21  Roland Routh

State wants Fishrot cases tried as one
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State advocate Ed Marondedze yesterday informed Windhoek High Court judge Christie Liebenberg that the State would apply for the two Fishrot matters – Namgomar and Fishcor – to be joined and tried as one case.

He made the announcement at the second
pre-trial hearing of the 10-man, excluding lawyer Marén de Klerk and Icelanders Egill Helgi Arnason, Ingvar Juliusson and Helgason Adelsteinn. 

De Klerk was the alleged paymaster in the Fishcor matter and the Icelanders are charged as representatives of Saga Seafood, Esja Investment and Heinaste Investments as well as in their personal capacities. The entire defence, with the exception of James Diedericks on behalf of former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, former managing director of Investec Asset Management Namibia (now Ninety One), James Hatuikulipi and Pius Natangwe Mwatelulo, indicated that they will oppose the joinder application.

Diedericks told the judge that he first want to study the application before he advises his clients.

The judge set down the date of 12 July for the hearing of the application and ordered that Diedericks must communicate his decision on whether he will oppose or not on or before 25 June to give the State time to read his papers should he decide to oppose.

In the Namgomar matter, former minister of fisheries Bernhardt Esau, Shanghala, James, his cousin Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi, who is also the son-in-law of Esau, Ricardo Gustavo, a senior manager at Investec Asset Management Namibia, Mwatelulo, Nigel van Wyk - Shanghala’s lackey -, Otneel Nandetonga Shuudifonya and Phillipus Mwapopi are charged with corruptly receiving payments 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.

In the Namgomar matter, the legal entities charged are Namgomar Pesca Namibia represented by Gustavo; Erongo Clearing and Forwarding, JTH Trading and Fitty Entertainment represented by Tamson; Otuafika Investments and Otuafika Logistics represented by Mwatelulo; Olea Investments, Erf One Nine Zero Eight Zero Kuisebmond, Greyguard Investments and Cambadara Trust represented by James; Omholo Trust represented by Shanghala; Esja Holdings and Mermaria Seafood Namibia represented by Arnason; Saga Seafood, Esja Investment and Heinaste Investments represented by Juliusson.

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.

Van Wyk alone faces further charges of unlawful possession of ammunition and assault on a
member of the police, while he and Shanghala face a charge of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

The matter was postponed to 17 June for another pre-trial conference. The accused remain in custody after several unsuccessful bail applications and appeals. Trevor Brockerhoff is representing Gustavo, Richard Metcalf and Florian Beukes is for Esau and Fitty, Milton Engelbrecht for Nghipunya and Jermaine Muchali for Van Wyk.

Marondedze is assisted by Cliff Lutibezi.

2021-05-21  Roland Routh

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