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Monday is D-Day for Fishrot

Monday is D-Day for Fishrot

Eba Kandovazu

JUDGEMENT on whether the case against the seven people implicated in the large scale fisheries corruption scandal will be provisionally struck from the court roll was reserved until Monday.


Magistrate Vanessa Stanley has reserved her ruling in an application brought by the prosecution to have the matter remanded one more time until Monday morning at 09h00. Oral submissions for and against the application were finalized earlier today.


Defense lawyers Milton Engelbrecht, Florian Beukes, Appolus Shimakeleni, Trevor Brockerhoff, and Gilroy Kasper opposed an application by the state to have the matter postponed again.


The prosecution argued that investigators will need about a month to properly analyze bundles of documents they received from Iceland and Norway recently.


The accused are Sakeus Shanghala, Benard Esau, Mike Nghipunya, James Hatuikulipi, Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Pius Mwatelula.


IN THE DOCK: The Fishrot accused will spend another weekend in jail while waiting for a judgment that could possibly see them be freed from incarceration. Footage: Eba Kaandovazu


Brockerhoff, who represents Gustavo questioned the communication patterns between the state prosecutors and the investigators, citing inconsistencies.


Brockeroff argued that the Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigator, Andreas Kanyangela’s evidence cannot be correct because in May, State Advocate, Ed Marondedze said that investigations in Angola are pending. He also pointed out that Marondedze said that evidence had to be collected from a total of nine jurisdictions, and questioned whether or not the two months period the state is requesting is sufficient.


Kanyangela however told the court that investigators in Angola informed the ACC that they will deal with their own people implicated in the corruption case and that they will conduct their own investigations.


Brockerhoff informed the court that investigations had already begun in 2014.


Kanyangela also said that the documents from Norway and Iceland would have to be manually analyzed because the current system at the ACC will not be able to take up all the documents.


“Was there a deliberate attempt to mislead the court? Was this a deflection to buy time or is it a clear breakdown of information between the state and the police? What was more peculiar to me was the dilly-dallying on Kanyangela’s part. He told the court that he didn’t have a pin to access the said documents although he requested it in April. He then says that the documents were in a foreign language so he could not do the analysis. There is still no explanation as to why the documents have not been analyzed since April,” Brockerhoff argued.


He said that the likelihood of the state completing investigations within the requested period of a month or so is unrealistic and that the accused persons would suffer prejudice at their continued incarceration.


“My client has no source of income, his four children who he used to live with him, now live with other family members and he is at the mercy of other people. Should the matter be struck from the roll, the state will suffer no prejudice. My client has lucid ties to this country. If another postponement is made, his life will be destroyed beyond repair,” Brockerhoff argued.


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