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Samerji bosses face arrest in Namibia

Samerji bosses face arrest in Namibia

Eba Kandovazu and Marthina Mutanga


THREE executives of Icelandic fishing company, Samherji, who have been identified as central figures in Namibia’s biggest corruption scandal to date, are wanted by Namibian authorities to answer to claims that they defrauded the Southern African country out of billions of dollars meant to benefit its citizens.


Namibia’s Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa has decided to prosecute the trio alongside the rest of the Fishrot suspects in the 2019 Namgomar case.


The Samherji bosses have been listed amongst twenty-six people and companies that will be tried in the Windhoek High Court when the corruption case goes for pre-trial on 22 April 2021.


Managing Director of Samherji’s Katla Seafood, Helgason Adelsteinn, Samherji’s Chief accounting officer, Ingvar Juliusson, and Esja’s managing director, Egil Arnason, are just some of the people that the Office of the Prosecutor General today announced are expected to face the music in the widespread fishing corruption case involving mainly Namibia, Angola and Iceland.


It is not yet clear why the people implicated in the matter on the Angolan side, amongst them Angola’s former fisheries minister Victoria de Barros and her son, were not listed in the matter.


Former fisheries minister Bernard Esau, former Justice minister Sakeus Shanghala, former Investec Asset Managing Director James Hatuikulipi, his cousin Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Pius Mwatelula received the news this morning during an appearance at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court alongside Nigel van Wyk.


FISHROT: Suspects in Namibia’s biggest fishing corruption saga. Footage by Marthina Mutanga


Van Wyk, who was in the employ of Shanghala when he was first arrested for obstruction, has now also been added to the list of suspects in the case.


The Namgomar case does not include former Fishcor CEO, Mike Nghipunya, who is currently also in jail for what is referred to as the Fishcor case.


Van Wyk was initially arrested for allegedly refusing police officers entrance to James and Shanghala’s farm during their arrest by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in November 2019.


After he was release, van Wyk was once again arrested after he was reportedly caught red handed by ACC investigators removing important documents from Shanghala’s residence in Windhoek while his boss was in prison.


The list of suspects and companies in the Namgomar case in chronological order are Ricardo Gustavo, James Hatuikulipi, Sakeus Shanghala, Bernardt Esau, Tamson Hatuikulipi, Pius Mwatelula, Namgomar Pesca Namibia, Erongo Clearing and Forwarding Cc, JTH trading Cc, Fitty Entertainment Cc, Otuafika investments cc, Otuafika Logistics Cc, Olea investments number nine Cc, Erf one nine eight zero Kuisebmond PTY, GreyGuard investment Cc, Cambadara Trust, Omholo Trust, Nigel van Wyk, Esja holding Pty, Mermaria seafood Namibia Pty, Saga seafood Namibia Pty, Saga seafood pty, Esja investment pty, Heinaste investments Namibia pty, Helgason Adelsteinn, Ingvar Juliusson and Egil Arnason.


Imalwa has decided to prosecute the suspects on 21 charges ranging from racketeering, money laundering, corruption, fraud and tax evasion.


While in van Wyk’s case, the additional charges are unlawful possession of ammunition, defeating the course of justice, assault of a police officer and resisting a member of the police.


Van Wyk’s lawyer Germaine Mutali said he would be appealing the decision to try him with the fishrot suspects as there are no charges linking him to the case and that the decision to arraign van Wyk with the rest of the suspects is unfair and violates his rights to a speedy trial.


Magistrate Linus Samunzala presided over the matter.


Lawyers Florian Beukes, Trevor Brockerhoff, Apollus Shimakeleni and Kasper Gilroy are representing some of the suspects, while Advocate Cliff Lutibezi is appearing for the state.


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