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Fishrot accused again caught with phones in cells

Fishrot accused again caught with phones in cells

Niël Terblanché


MORE charges might be added to the already hefty charge sheets of Sacky Shanghala and James Hatuikulipi if it is found that the smuggled mobile phones found in their possession while at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility were used to interfere with investigations or possible witnesses in the Fishrot corruption scandal.


Paulus Noa, the Director-General of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), said that the Correctional Services, as well as the Namibian Police, will first have to establish if the phones were used for nefarious purposes.


Noa added that if any evidence is uncovered that the accused person used the phones for corrupt purposes, that such charges will also be added to the charge sheets of Hatuikulipi and Shanghala.


Meanwhile, an in-depth investigation has been launched to establish how the two accused persons were able to be in possession of mobile phones while they are behind bars.


It is not the first time that contraband of this nature was confiscated from Hatuikulipi.


Fishrot accused caught phones cells Sacky Shanghala James Hatuikulipi smuggled mobile Windhoek Central Correctional Facility investigations Fishrot corruption scandal


About a year ago, Hatuikulipi, along with his nephew and another Fishrot accused, Pius Mwatelulo, were found in their holding cells with mobile phones in their possession.


The Commissioner-General of the Namibian Correctional Service, Raphael Hamunyela, confirmed that the phones were found in the prison cells of the former justice minister, Shanghala, and the former Chief Executive Officer of the Namibian Fishing Corporation (Fishcor), Hatuikulipi.


“We have launched an investigation to get to the bottom of the incident. At this moment it is not clear how the mobile phones were smuggled into the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility. Some of the wardens that deal directly with trial awaiting prisoners are also under investigation,” he said.


Shanghala and Hatuikulipi and their co-accused, the former fisheries minister, Bernhard Esau, his son-in-law Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi, former Investec manager Ricardo Gustavo, former Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya, and Mwatelulo are all implicated in the massive fisheries corruption scandal.


With the exception of Nghipunya, who was detained last year, all of the suspects have been in custody since late 2019.


The accused persons were moved from the police holding cells at Seeis to the Central Correctional Facility after it became clear that they would not be set free on bail while awaiting trial.


Commissioner-General Hamunyela said that the mobile phones that were confiscated from the Fishrot suspects over the weekend were handed over to the chief warden of the Central Correctional Facility until such time that the investigation into the matter is completed.


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