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Feathers fly in Namibia’s battle of legal eagles

Feathers fly in Namibia’s battle of legal eagles

Staff Reporter 

THE Council of the Law Society of Namibia (LSN) is meeting this weekend in Windhoek to consider the implications of the continuous membership of self-incriminating fishrot corruption accomplice, Maren De Klerk, who is still practising as a Namibian attorney from South Africa.


In a leaked affidavit of De Klerk to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the self proclaimed ‘paymaster’ in the fishing scheme admitted that he is still able to conduct his business in Namibia from South Africa, where he is reportedly in hiding.


He is also fighting a legal battle to remain an executor of the Mushimba Trust.


De Klerk further revealed that he also served on the ethics committee of the Law Society of Namibia from 2010 to 2017, eventually becoming the Chairperson, where he was mandated to sift through complaints by the public against the legal fraternity and refer it to the disciplinary committee for further action.


This all the while he was himself involved in dubious business as De Klerk admitted in his affidavit.


Officials at the LSN confirmed that an affidavit of De Klerk in April 2020 detailing his knowledge of the fishrot scandal only reached them a few days ago and that it will be discussed as a matter of urgency at the first council meeting of 2021 scheduled for this weekend.


The officials added that they previously did not have insight into the scope of the De Klerk’s role in the fishrot saga.


The legal fraternity is in turmoil since last year when the LSN drew fire from High Court Judge Herman Oosthuizen when he rejected an application from the law society for a search and seizure warrant to inspect the records of prominent Windhoek lawyer, Sisa Namandje.


LSN is mostly interested in Namandje’s Trust account as it was used to channel N$22.5 million linked to the ongoing fishrot saga to beneficiaries, which include businessmen Vaino Nghipondoka and Armas Amukwiyu.


Judge Oosthuizen at the time said that he is seriously concerned about the way the LSN as a regulating body for enrolled legal practitioners is handling the issue.


He found that the application against Namandje was not properly and lawfully authorised.


During the LSN application last year, De Klerk and his company were already implicated in the fishrot investigation.


His leaked affidavit triggered an avalanche of statements from various institutions.


Incidentally, the leak came fresh on the heels of the arrest of Dawie Moller, the Managing Director of D&M Rails, a company whose main shareholders are James Hatuikulipi and John Walenga.


Hatuikulipi, the former boss of Investec Namibia, is one of nine men currently in jail in the Fishrot saga.


The others are former justice minister, Sacky Shanghala, former fisheries minister, Bernard Esau, his son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi, former Investec manager, Ricardo Gustavo, former Fishrot CEO, Mike Nghipunya, businessman Pius Mwatelulo, as well as Otneel Shuudifonya and Philipus Mwapopi.


Walenga, on the other hand, is also a director of C-Sixty, a company that received a lucrative N$1.5 billion contract at state-owned diamond company, Namdia.


Red flags at Namdia were raised following an investigation by Minister of Public Enterprises, Leon Jooste.


Interestingly, the Namdia report was also leaked to media houses in what appears to be a civil war of Swapo factionalism and business ventures of the powers that be and those well connected.


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