A FOCUSSED operation led by senior officers of the Namibian Police saw the arrest of all six men implicated in the fisheries corruption scandal on their respective farms as Wednesday progressed.
The arrest warrants were executed while hundreds of thousands of Namibians stood patiently in the wind and weather to exercise their constitutional right cast the vote in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The apprehension of former fisheries minister, Bernhard Esau, Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Pius Mwatelulo followed shortly after the former justice minister Sacky Shanghala and James Hatuikulipi, former managing director at Investec Asset Management in Namibia and Chairman of the Fishing Corporation of Namibia’s board were arrested earlier on Wednesday.
The Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Lieutenant General Sebastian Ndeitunga confirmed the arrest of the Fishrot Six and added that a seventh person, a man who attempted to prevent the arresting officers from executing the arrest warrants during the apprehension of Hatuikulipi and Shanghala, was also arrested for obstructing the course of Justice.
“The officers in charge of the operation had a clear plan of action that was perfectly coordinated with the Anti-Corruption Commission and other stakeholders. It was just a matter of time before the arrest warrants were executed. The officers arrived at the farm some time during Tuesday night where they waited for the best opportunity to enter the property and execute the warrants of arrest.”
According to General Ndeitunga after all of the men were arrested they were transported to the Windhoek Central Police Station where formal charges were laid against them in the presence of their legal representatives before they were taken away to the police cells where they will be held until they make their first appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court. He said the Criminal Procedure Act and the Constitution of the Republic will have to be followed and that the Fishrot Six will definitely appear by Friday.
“The entire process was done in this manner to avoid unnecessary technicalities that can be used in court to argue against the arrest and incarceration,” General Ndeitunga said.
In this regard he expressed his gratitude towards the police team, the officials from the ACC and officials from the Prosecutor General’s office that made sure that the process were conducted in a professional manner.
“We had to make sure that everything was done professionally to restore the trust and confidence of the public in the rule of law. At the same time we have to respect the rights of the suspects to avoid that they are not victimised and we will do everything within the ambit of the law to ensure that they account for their actions,” General Ndeitunga said.
He called on the public to be patient and respect the rights of the suspects and that they are innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law.