SAMHERJI, the Icelandic multinational fishing company at the centre of the so-called Fishrot Files corruption scandal and accused of siphoning off billions of dollars from the Namibian economy by transhipping fish processed and frozen from their fishing vessels to cargo vessels while at sea says it has nothing to hide.
A day before a former managing director of Saherji’s companies in Namibia revealed the entire scheme on national television in Iceland the Chief Executive Officer of the multinational company, Thorsteinn Már Baldvinsson, distanced Samherji and himself from the debacle.
In the meantime the scandal led to the dismissal of Bernhard Esau, as the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, and Sacky Shangala, as the Minister of Justice, from their parliamentary positions.
The statement reads as follows:
Samherji would like to make the following statement after coverage about our operations in Namibia in a newscast broadcasted tonight by The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.
We were very disappointed to learn that Jóhannes Stefánsson, a former managing director of Samherji’s operations in Namibia, appears to have been involved in questionable business practices and possibly entangled Samherji in activities that may be illegal.
Jóhannes Stefánsson was fired from his position in Namibia in 2016 because of mismanagement and unacceptable behaviour. Now he has admitted to engaging in illegal activities while managing Samherji’s subsidiaries in Namibia.
Until recently, we had no knowledge of the scope and nature of Jóhannes Stefánsson’s business practices and it is uncertain whether they really were the way he describes. As we have already reported, we have engaged the international law firm Wikborg Rein in Norway to investigate the activities in Namibia. In this investigation, nothing will be excluded and we will disclose its findings as soon as they become available.
We are deeply shocked that Johannes Stefánsson not only admits being involved in illegal activities, he is now also making allegations against colleagues. This is not how we do business. This is not Samherji.
Samherji has been running a successful international operation for 35 years. We always strive to act in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Samherji will co-operate with the relevant authorities that may investigate the fisheries industry in Namibia. If such an investigation will take place, Samherji has nothing to hide.