BANK Windhoek has distanced itself from claims that the bank may have deliberately turned a blind eye on money laundering in the notorious fishrot files scandal because its managing director, Baronice Hans, was sitting on the Marine Resource Advisory Council.
On Sunday, Aljazeera news aired a documentary titled, “The Anatomy of a Bribe,” which showed millions of dollars being transferred from the Iceland-based fishing giant Samherji to Namibian officials and politicians for fishing access.
A bulk of these payments were done via Bank Windhoek.
The leaked bank records indicate that hundreds of millions of dollars also flowed into companies owned by former minister of justice, Sacky Shanghala and James Hatuikulipi, in return for securing fishing quotas and changes to the law to benefit Samherji.
Jacquiline Pack, marketing and cooperate communications manager, however, stated that Bank Windhoek has zero tolerance for any corrupt practices and non-compliance to regulatory requirements.
Shortly after the documentary aired, a suggestion on social media was made that Hans. Already MD of Bank Windhoek, in 2016 was strategically appointed on the Marine Advisory Committee after another woman, who fell out of the good graces of those implicated in the fish rot files saga, was removed.
Pack stated that the Bank’s approach has always been to report any suspicious activity and suspicious transactions as guided by Namibian law and Bank of Namibia regulations.
“Allegations and innuendo made on social media towards the Bank’s Managing Director, Baronice Hans, are false and may constitutes criminal defamation. The Marine Resource Advisory Council was appointed on 29 November 2016, constituting of 13 members and was not done to replace specific members as alleged,” Pack said.
Although she was appointed on the Council, Pack stated, Hans never formally took up her position and resigned shortly after the appointment due to her obligations at Bank Windhoek.