THE seven men accused in the infamous fishing corruption scandal will spend at least another three months in jail until the completion of investigations and the subsequent decision of the Prosecutor General is made.
Magistrate Vanessa Stanley today granted the state another postponement, which is final. This was after State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi lodged an application, which was strongly objected by defense lawyers.
The Magistrate granted the postponement on the grounds that the lengthy investigations in the two matters, namely the 2019 matter – Namgomar and the 2020 matter – Fishcor are justifiable by the nature and complexity of the cases.
According to Magistrate Stanley, the two cases require voluminous investigation. The suspects in the matter are former Fisheries minister Bernhard Esau, former Justice minister Sakeus Shanghala, James Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo, Tamson Hatuikulipi and Mike Nghipunya, and Pius Mwatelulo.
COVID-19 restrictions have also been cited in the hampering of investigations.
The matters were postponed to 14 December 2020. In respect of the Fishcor matter, the Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa is expected to pronounce herself, to state whether or not the matter will be tried in the high court. In the Namgomar matter, the investigating officers will have to state how far investigations have come and to provide a status report.
Lawyers Trevor Brockerhoff, Appolus Shimakeleni, Kasper Gilroy, Florian Beukes, Milton Engelbrecht represent the accused in the matter.