Namibia: Kawana Accused of Sabotaging Seaflower/Fischor Deal

11 February 2021

THE chairperson of the African Selection Fishing Namibia (ASFN) has accused minister of fisheries and marine resources Albert Kawana of acting unilaterally in an attempt to cancel the designation and cooperation agreements of the joint venture project between his company and the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia Limited (Fishcor).

The attempt to cancel the deal was made last September. In a statement, Adriaan Louw said the minister's actions are tantamount to sabotaging the joint venture investment agreement between the two companies on which the Sea- ower Pelagic Processing (SPP) wetlanded horse mackerel sh- ing factory at Walvis Bay was established.

The joint venture was promulgated in the Government Gazette and created Sea ower Pelagic Processing in which ASFN owns 60% and Fishcor 40% shares. Louw says he is alarmed that the minister relied on remarks made by deputy judge president Hosia Angula in a matter where Angula was not required to assess the legality of the underlying agreements or the government promulgations.

"As a legal expert, minister Kawana, relying on an incorrect legal and factual basis, and entirely without a mandate from Cabinet, caused irreparable harm and damages to the joint venture project and has prevented 655 workers from being permanently employed," said Louw.

He added that the arbitration and court proceedings underway could have been averted had Kawana not relied on the incorrect decisions. Louw further denies that his company, SPP, is engaged in any corrupt activities and fails to understand why the minister failed to allocate 25 000 metric tons of horse mackerel quota to the joint venture in 2020. No quota has been al- located to SPP to date, which Louw says is to the detriment of both joint venture partners.

He claims that his companies are not on a warpath with the government, and they will remain committed to finding an amicable solution, to the bene t of all parties concerned and to ensure job security for the workers. With no alternative route left, ASFN and SPP referred the matter to arbitration.

COURT RULING

In his judgement in September last year, when Sea ower Pelagic attempted to stop minister Kawana from selling fishing quotas through a public auction, judge Angula said: "I have carefully considered the terms and conditions of the two agreements [i.e. the cooperation agreement and the designation agreement] and could not nd any clause which obliges the government to actually provide 50 000mt of horse mackerel to Fishcor".

The judge went on to say that it was clear that Fishcor over- promised on something it could not deliver, as it has no right to allocate quotas. Instead, quotas are allocated to it.

Kawana confirmed he cancelled the cooperation agreement entered into between the ministry and Fishcor on 18 November 2015, as well as Addendum No. 1 to the cooperation agreement entered into between the two parties on 9 March 2017.

"Please be informed that I cancelled the agreement with Fishcor already last year, because it's not in the public interest. I could not find legal justification to guarantee 50 000 metric tons of horse mackerel annually for 15 years, renewable for another 15 years when Fishcor is only a minority shareholder," Kawana said.

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