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First arrests in fisheries corruption scandal made

First arrests in fisheries corruption scandal made

Niël Terblanché

Bernhard Esau, the former Minister of Fisheries and the Ricardo Gustavo, who resigned as a senior manager at Investec Asset Management, were arrested in Windhoek earlier on Saturday.

 

Paulus Noa, the Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission, confirmed the arrest of the suspects as well as that corruption charges were laid against them.

 

Noa indicated that warrants of arrest have been issued in the names of all the suspects in the corruption scandal and that the arrest of Sacky Shanghala the former Minister of Justice, the former managing director of Investec Asset Management and former chairman of the state-owned fishing company, Fishcor, James Hatuikulipi as well as Fitty Tamson Hatuikulipi, the former fisheries minister’s son in law will follow soon.

 

The arrest of Esau and Gustavo follows a little more than a week after the Anti-Corruption Commission set procedures in motion by which the main players in the corruption scandal will be prosecuted.

At the time the ACC indicated that sworn statements have been obtained from the whistleblower and other potential witnesses and in the course of the investigation.

 

The ACC also indicated that it has engaged its counterparts and relevant stakeholders inside and outside Namibia with an objective to assist with investigation of various aspects that might lead to the eventual arrests and prosecution of the suspects.

 

ACC investigators have been relentlessly pursuing the corruption allegations with regards to large scale corruption in the Namibian fishing industry since 2014.

 

Besides the known amount of N$150 million that were received by some of the suspects in the case the ACC received further complaints in 2014 alleging that the former Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources has been allocating fishing quotas to non-right holders.

 

The latest allegations which implicate Bernard Esau, Sacky Shanghala, James Hatuikulipi, Fitly Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo, several fishing entities, some foreign nationals and their companies has been under investigation since 2018 and now forms part of the docket already opened in 2014.

 

Noa said investigators are still looking for the three other men and that they will be arrested once they are traced.

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