THE suspects in what is purported to be the biggest corruption scandal in Namibia involving former ministers and prominent businessmen will return to court on 20 May 2021 for another pre-trial conference.
The High Court was a hive of activities today when former fisheries minister, Bernard Esau, former Justice minister, Sakeus Shanghala, former Managing Director of Investec Asset Management, James Hatuikulipi, former Fishcor Chief Executive Officer, Mike Nghipunya, Ricardo Gustavo, businessman Tamson Hatuikulipi, Pius Mwatelula, Nigel van Wyk, and Otneel Shuundifonya as well as Phillipus Mwapopi appeared in the High Court for a pre-trial conference.
The fully packed courtroom saw scores of public members in anticipation of what would transpire.
In an interesting turn of events, high court Judge Christie Liebenberg reversed the decision of Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa to list three Samherji executives, who are currently in Iceland, as accused persons. They are Helgason Adelsteinn, the Managing Director of Samherji’s Katla Seafood, Ingvar Juliusson, Samherji’s Chief accounting officer, and Egil Arnason, managing director of Esja.
The judge found that until the trio is extradited to Namibia, formerly charged and appear before the lower courts, they will not be recognized as accused persons. The three have been cited as accused persons in the Fishrot saga, alongside their different companies.
The Judge inquired why the three persons were not before court and why they were not represented legally. In response, state Advocate Ed Marondedze said the state has already initiated extradition proceedings.
Another suspect, who didn’t appear before court, was lawyer Marén de Klerk, who is said to be in South Africa.
Marondedze will, before the 20th of May 2021 formerly apply for the two Fishrot cases namely the Namgomar case and the Fishcor case to be joined together.
Today, an order was made for the state to provide full disclosures to defence lawyers, no later than 6 May 2021. The disclosures will be availed in hardcopy.
Van Wyk, who was detained at the Otjomuise police station will now be transferred to the Windhoek Correctional facility trial awaiting section.
The defence team consists of lawyers Trevor Brockerhoff, Richard Metcalfe, Florian Beukes, James Diedericks, Germaine Muchali, Milton Engelbrecht, and Appolus Shimakeleni.
Marondedze is assisted by Cliff Lutibezi.
Both the Namgomar and the Fishcor cases will return to court on 20 May 2021.