THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is waiting on the office of the Prosecutor General to issue new warrants of arrests for those implicated in what is now known as the ‘Fish Rot’ scandal.
Those accused include former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, former Investec managing director James Hatuikulipi, Esau’s son-in-law Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi and suspended Investec Namibia clients director Ricardo Gustavo.
An additional person, Pius ‘Taxa’ Mwatelulo, who is reportedly a relative to James, has also been added to the list.
Esau and Gustavo were arrested on Saturday, but were subsequently released the following day after the warrant on which Esau was taken into custody was declared invalid by the High Court.
ACC spokesperson, Josefina Nghituwamata, today said that there are no new warrants of arrest yet, which means that when Shanghala and James land in Windhoek from Cape Town tomorrow as they have indicated, it is highly unlikely that they will be arrested on arrival.
“We are not yet sure when the warrants of arrests will be ready because we are waiting for a formal letter from the Prosecutor General’s office before we can issue new ones against those implicated,” explained Nghituwamata.
The suspects in the ‘Fish Rot’ scandal are accused of benefitting from millions of dollars in alleged kickbacks paid by the Icelandic fishing company, Samherji, which was exploiting a horse mackerel fishing quota allocated to the Namibian state-owned company, Fishcor.
James was Fishcor’s board chairperson after he was appointed by Esau and only resigned last week following a global investigation that implicated him and those ACC is looking to have arrested.
An urgent letter addressed to ACC Director-General, Paulus Noa, by lawyers representing Esau, Shanghala, James, Tamson and Mwatelulo, today sought clarity on whether or not warrants of arrest have been issued.
The letter by Appolos Shimakeleni lawyers, dated 25 November 2019, reads: “Due to the recent events and the affidavit of Mr. Andreas Kanyangela attached of warrant of arrest issued and executed for Mr. Esau, it would appear that all of the above-mentioned clients are implicated in the investigations that led to Mr. Esau’s arrest. The affidavit in question, however, only came into our possession in respect of Mr. Esau, once he was arrested. Furthermore, recent media reports have been to the effect that our clients are wanted and in particular to be arrested in respect of warrants of arrest that have been issued and that they are allegedly on the run.”
The law firm added that Shanghala and James were already in Cape Town when the media reports started circulating.
“We have further informed Mr. Olivier that our clients are not in hiding and they are willing to cooperate and hand themselves in, should there be any warrants for their arrests. In respect of Mr. Tamson Hatuikulipi and Mr. Pius Mwatelulo, we are instructed that no official from your office went to their residence.”
“In light of the above, kindly confirm whether or not warrants of arrest have in fact been issued in respect of all the four aforementioned persons. Should you confirm that there are warrants out for them, we can make arrangements for them to hand themselves in at your office. Mr. Shanghala and Mr. J. Hatuikulipi will arrive in Namibia on 26 November 2019,” the letter by the lawyers reads.
The letter concluded by stating that there is no reason for their clients to run away from any charges, given the positions they held and the assets they have in Namibia.
“We would therefore implore your good office to consider issuing summons for them to appear at Court on whatever date is determined,” noted the letter signed by Appolos Shimakeleni.