JUDGEMENT in the High Court application of the Fishrot Six to have the search warrants used by investigators to search their properties and confiscate assets and evidence to be declared null and void was reserved until the end of February this year.
The applicants, disgraced ministers Bernhard Esau and Sakeus Shanghala, their co-accused James Hatuikulipi, Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Pius Mwatelulo approached the court with an application in which they seek an order declaring the search warrants invalid and unlawful.
They further seek an order directing the Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Prosecutor General, the officer who applied for the warrants and the Inspector General of the Namibian Police as well as any other person in possession of the seized items to restore such items, goods and documents seized in pursuance of the impugned search warrants to be returned to them. This includes memory sticks, draft wills, vehicles, note books, computers and data, any copies and or duplications made thereof. If successful the applicants wants the seized property returned to them within one day of such order made by the court.
The search warrants are being challenged on the basis that they contain no fresh information which entails that the documents are no different from the initial warrants. The applicants claim that the warrants are also vague, overboard and unintelligible.
“An example of the vague overboard terms is that the search warrant does not specify what monies are to be seized or are to be searched for. This resulted in the prevailing situation where souvenirs are being seized,” the applicants’ legal team submitted.
“The search warrants appear to have been turned into preservation orders/Asset preservation tools. If the respondents want to preserve, there are proper procedures to be followed,” Advocate Tinashe Chibwana argued.
The applicants further argue that the search warrant execution process was ‘abused’ and amounted to a gross violation of their human rights.
The respondents on their part, represented by Senior Counsel Piet van Wyk argued that the application lacks urgency.
“In both warrants, there is extensive and clear reference as to items that are connected to the criminal investigation. It is clear that the allegations are serious and extensive in nature. With respect, no proper case was made out in respect of this allegation and is without merit or substance and it could be construed as a breach of privilege,” Van Wyk argued.
High Court Judge Thomas Masuku reserved judgment after the closing of arguments by the applicants and the respondents until 27 February 2020.