Namibia: Lawyers Want Speedy Fishrot Probe

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(File photo).
21 November 2019

Windhoek — A body representing Namibian lawyers has called on all investigators preoccupied with the investigation of the alleged international fishing kickback scandal implicating local politicians to speedily conclude their inquiry into the matter.

"We implore on the relevant law enforcement bodies ceased with investigations of the matter to take all necessary steps to ensure the allegations are concluded without delay," intreated NLA chairperson Uno Katjipuka.

Two former cabinet members Bernhard Esau, who headed the fisheries portfolio, and his justice counterpart Sacky Shanghala were forced to resign after they were implicated in the massive bribery scandal involving at least N$150 million.

Investec Asset Management Namibia CEO James Hatuikulipi also resigned following the expose. Hatuikulipi and his cousin Tamson 'Fitty' Hatuikulipi, who is also a son-in-law of the former fisheries minister, are all implicated in the saga.

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

This is according to whistleblower Jóhannes Stefánsson, the former general manager of Samherji's operations in Namibia. Local and international media reported last week that an Icelandic fishing company, Samherji, secured access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia by paying bribes of around N$150 million to politicians and businessmen between 2012 and 2018 in return for fishing quotas. According to NLA, the company worked closely with Shanghala as the custodian of the administration of justice.

"It is, therefore, encumbered upon the concerned official occupying this position to possess an unblemished character and to exercise his mandate with a high moral and ethical standard," she added. Katjipuka noted the NLA has taken cognisance of the resignation tendered by Shanghala in the light of revelation of corruption.

"We welcome the responsible and mature step taken by the former minister, as it eliminates any perceived negative connotations that such conduct may have on the Ministry of Justice," she expressed in a media statement. She said, by resigning, Shangala has restored the integrity of the Ministry of Justice.

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