Namibia: Fishrot - Suspects Ready to Turn Themselves in

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Namibian flag (file photo).
26 November 2019

Windhoek — Former justice minister Sacky Shanghala and three others wanted on corruption charges say they are ready to hand themselves in. The four are implicated in the unfolding N$150 million international fishing kickback scandal, which has led to the resignations of Bernhard Esau as fisheries minister and Shanghala, who headed the justice portfolio.

Another official implicated, James Hatuikulipi, has also quit his high-paying job as managing director of Investec Asset Management Namibia.

The four corruption accused, through their lawyer Appolos Shimakeleni, had enquired whether they are still wanted by the police. "You should confirm that there are warrants out for them so that we can make arrangements for them to hand themselves in at your offices," read the letter by Shimakeleni to Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) director-general Paulus Noa yesterday.

Shanghala and Hatuikulipi are due to arrive today from Cape Town. However, they claimed no official from the ACC or police approached Tamson 'Fitty' Hatuikulipi and a certain Pius Natangwe Mwatelulo with a view to arrest them.

"As indicated to Olivier, Shangala and James Hatuikulipi were already in Cape Town when the media reports started circulating. We have further informed Olivier that our clients are not in hiding and they are willing to cooperate and hand themselves in," further reads the letter by Shimakeleni.

Tamson is the son-in-law of Esau, who ironically only spent a night in the holding cells after the ACC and the police conceded that his (Esau's) warrant of arrest was not in compliance with the law in a number of respects.

New Era understands that a senior manager at Investec Asset Management Namibia, Ricardo Gustavo, who is currently on suspension was also arrested on Saturday and released alongside Esau on Sunday.

According to the Fishrot Files of Wikileaks, an Icelandic fishing company Samherji reportedly secured access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia by paying bribes of around N$150 million to politicians and businessmen between 2012 and 2018.

According to media reports, Samherji's CEO and biggest shareholder, Þorsteinn Már Baldvinsson, authorised the bribe payments.

Noa in a statement on Saturday said the ACC since the beginning of this month has been investigating allegations of conspiracies to commit corrupt practices, corruption, bribery, money laundering, tax evasion and related crimes.

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