20 May 2019

Namibia: Governor in Fishing Quotas Wrangle

THE board of a fishing company at Kosis settlement has accused //Kharas governor Lucia Basson of demanding N$16 000 after threatening them.

Kosis Fishing CC, in which the community owns 30%, was founded in 2001, with reverend Hendrik Kooitjie, reverend Abraham Levy, reverend Abel Vries and reverend Sam Herero as directors.

Kooitjie, who is the chairperson, told The Namibian that Basson demanded and got N$16 000 in September last year, saying she wanted to use the money to renovate the village's clinic.

He stated that the money in question had been paid to Kosis Fishing CC in 2018 by Aloe Fishing Company for using Kosis Fishing CC's quota.

Kooitjie added that Basson also took a barbecue griller which the community had received as a donation from Pinnacle Trust.

"We are considering laying theft charges against her if she fails to return the griller," he said.

Levy, for his part, claimed that they gave Basson the money after she threatened to convince fisheries minister Bernard Esau to withdraw the company's fishing quota.

Basson acknowledged taking the money, but said she did so because there were allegations that the directors were abusing dividends.

"I did not steal any money. They voluntarily gave me the money," she said, adding that she explained what she intended using it for.

Basson noted that the money was safe in the bank, and will be used for the intended purpose. She, however, did not provide evidence that the money was in the bank.

According to her, work on the clinic had not started because she was waiting for pledges made by other companies.

The governor accused Kooitjie and Herero of receiving N$30 000 and N$25 000 each in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Kooitjie yesterday admitted that dividends of N$30 000 had been paid into his account in 2017, but refuted claims that it was for private use.

He claimed that the money was used to buy food parcels and mattresses which he had distributed to the community.

Equally, Kooitjie conceded that dividends of N$25 000 were paid into Herero's bank account for use by the community.

He added that the dividends were paid into their private accounts because the company did not have its own bank account.

Kooitjie added that the company has not received huge dividends since its inception.

Basson admitted taking the barbecue griller in exchange for a baking oven to be used in the community bakery.

"The barbecue griller had been mistakenly donated as a baking oven, and had been standing idle in a storeroom at the settlement," she explained.

"I just thought it wise that it can be better utilised at the governor's office, and therefore took it in exchange of the baking oven we donated to the community," she added.

Attempts to get comment from Herero proved futile as his mobile number was not reachable.

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