WINDHOEK - Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani yesterday threatened legal action against Icelandic fishing company Samherji should it cease operations in Namibia without reimbursing over 1 000 fishermen who lost their jobs in October 2015 following an illegal strike.
Samherji is the Icelandic fishing company at the centre of Namibia’s biggest corruption scandal, which saw the arrest and detention of former justice minister Sacky Shanghala and his fisheries counterpart minister Bernhard Esau.
The two former ministers and four others are still in custody and are due to appear in court next month.
Venaani’s demands follow the company’s announcement last week that it is withdrawing all its resources, including its assets from the country and moving back to Iceland.
In a statement last week, interim Samherji CEO Björgólfur Jóhannsson said the company is currently de-investing its operation in Namibia but did not give a time frame, only saying the process “will take some time”.
Venaani yesterday petitioned the company CEO in an open letter.
“We demand that Samherji pays out to all fisherman that lost their jobs a monthly salary equal to the amount they would have earned today, taking inflation into account for the years of loss of income, together with a pensionable lump sum calculated on the amount,” he said.
“Noting that many fishermen have committed suicide due to destitution that befell them, thus a category of these individuals must be considered that their families benefit from these payouts.”
Venaani also committed to be part of the negotiations should the company heed its call.
“We would, at this juncture, like to inform you that as the official opposition political party, we are part of the relevant authorities and, as such, we will participate in all negotiations, especially with regard to the plight of the fishermen who lost their jobs and income,” Venaani said.
He said PDM is conscious of the fact that this act could go a long way in only attempting to heal the deep injustices it has put on the lives of fishermen and the national economy of the country.
“Therefore, we call upon you to favourably reply to us within 15 working days. Failure to do so may result in seeking a court interdict that can be attached with regard to the assets that Samherji owns in Namibia, including the N$400 million – for we believe in the tenets of justice.”
He said Namibia is losing millions of dollars yearly in illicit financial outflows, base erosion, transfer pricing and corruption, resources that could have oiled the country’s socio-economic development.
“Mostly, these practices go unpunished and have detriment effect to our people, while those that practice these insolences continue reaping undue benefits,” he said.
2020-01-22 07:01:59 | 5 months ago