Namibia: Extradition Looms for Fishrot 'Paymaster'

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Namibian authorities are expected to finalise the extradition request for lawyer Marén de Klerk who is facing corruption charges in the High Court over his alleged involvement in the Fishrot scandal. De Klerk, who has been living in neighbouring South Africa over the past year, is due to appear with other Fishrot accused before the Windhoek High Court on 22 April for pre-trial.

Justice minister Yvonne Dausab yesterday told New Era they were still waiting for outstanding documents before they could finalise the extradition request.

Director general of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Paulus Noa has confirmed that his office has taken the necessary steps to obtain a warrant of arrest against De Klerk.

"The warrant is part of the documents prepared for the extradition through the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice is the one that makes the extradition order. From our side we have done what was required of us, which is to prepare an affidavit for the application of the warrant of arrest, which was granted," explained Noa.

Dausab said the ministry was currently waiting for all relevant documents from the Office of the Prosecutor General to finalise the process. Once such documents are available, Dausab said, Namibia will finalise the drafting and transmitting of the request to the department of justice in South Africa through diplomatic channels.

Efforts to get a comment from the prosecutor general Martha Imalwa proved futile as her phone went unanswered.

De Klerk, who refers to himself as the 'paymaster' in the Fishrot scheme, has been residing in South Africa since February 2020, three months after former ministers Bernhard Esau and Sacky Shanghala as well as other accused were arrested in connection with the scandal.

De Klerk will be standing trial in the High Court alongside Shanghala, Esau, former Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya, James Hatuikulipi, Tamson Hatuikulipi, Phillipus Mwapopi, Otneel Shuudifonya, Pius Mwatelulo and Ricardo Gustavo.

The bribery scandal allegedly involves bribes amounting to over N$150 million, reportedly paid by Samherji, one of Iceland's largest fishing companies, in return for preferential access to Namibia's fishing grounds.

They are expected to stand trial on charges ranging from fraud to bribery, corruptly using office for gratification, money laundering and conspiring to commit corruption.

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