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Fishrot corruption case postponed to April

Fishrot corruption case postponed to April

Eba Kandovazu

THE accused person in the massive fisheries corruption scandal will have to wait more than two months behind bars before they will make another court appearance in the criminal case on 23 April, after they were all remanded in custody to afford detectives time to finalise their investigations.

 

The Fishrot Six, Sakeus Shanghala,42, Benhard Esau,62, James Hatuikulipi, 44, Ricardo Gustavo,44, Tamson Hatukulipi,38, and Pius Mwatelulo,31, made a brief appearance before Magistrate Philanda Christiaan.

 

Two other suspects, whose arrest pertains to an alleged bribery attempt of an investigating officer in exchange for banking cards were also joined with the six main accused. They will now be tried together.

 

Sakaria Kuutondokwa, a former police reservist and Jason Iyambo were arrested last month after they allegedly attempted to pay an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigator an amount of N$250 000 in exchange for banking cards that were held in evidence at the corruption watchdog’s head quarters in Windhoek.

 

Esau faces six charges namely: Corruptly using his office for gratification, corruptly accepting gratification, fraud, disguising unlawful origin of property and tax fraud.

 

Video: The Fishrot Six during the latest appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court – Footage: Eba Kandovazu

 

Shanghala faces six charges which includes attempts to pervert the course of justice, conspiracies to commit offences, corruptly accepting gratification, fraud, disguising unlawful origin of property and tax fraud.

 

James Hatuikulipi is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, conspiracies to commit offences, accepting gratification, araud, disguising unlawful origin of property and tax fraud.

 

Gustavo is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, conspiracies to commit offences, corruptly accepting gratification, fraud, disguising unlawful origin of property and tax fraud.

 

Tamson Hatuikulipi is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, conspiracy to commit offences, corruptly accepting gratification, fraud, disguising unlawful origin of property and tax fraud.

 

Mwatelulo only faces one charge under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act which is disguising unlawful origin of property.

 

The defence team consists of lawyers Kasper Gilroy, Appolus Shimakeleni, Germaine Muchali, Florian Beukes, Trevor Brockerhoff, and Kalundu Kamwi.

 

Muchali, who represents Kuutondokwa requested for an order that would keep his client at the Seeis Police Station’s holding cells. The original Fishrot Six were also incarcerated at Seeis before they were dramatically moved to the Windhoek Central Correctional facility’s trial awaiting section.

 

“This request is a result of a tendency to remove accused persons from that holding cell without consultations with their lawyers and without a notice. My request is that the order should categorically state that my client remains there,” Muchali pleaded with the court.

 

Gilroy, who represents Esau and James Hatuikulipi, upon postponement made it known to the court that the matter has been under investigation since 2014 and that it was completely up to the court’s discretion in deciding about the retention of the accused.

 

“We appreciate the seriousness of the offences, but the accused have been in custody for a long time,” Gilroy argued.

 

State Advocate Ed Marondedze during the proceedings in court again opposed bail before Magistrate Christiaan remanded the matter to 23 April.