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Fishrot accused keep court busy with money matters

Kristien Kruger
“To say that this case has kept the court busy is putting it mildly. The court has been dealing with this matter since November 2020 and has so far written and delivered seven judgments on various issues. This is the eighth judgment and there is still no end in sight."

Judge Orben Sibeya said this in a judgment delivered yesterday in the Windhoek High Court in a case between Prosecutor-General (PG) Martha Imalwa and the Fishrot defendants. The case, brought under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA), was initially aimed at obtaining a settlement order to freeze the Fishrot defendants' assets.

Although the application for a confiscation order was already completed in May 2023, several other issues have surfaced since then.

Frozen assets

Some of the Fishrot defendants brought applications in terms of Section 26 of POCA to access their frozen assets to pay their lawyers.

Among the defendants who brought these applications are James Hatuikulipi and Bernhardt Esau.

In both of these cases, Imalwa claimed that they did not disclose enough information about their finances to put the court in a position to decide on the release of frozen assets.

In these cases, Imalwa brought the issue of money in a foreign account under scrutiny, but Hatuikulipi denied the allegations that he has more than N$60 million in a Dubai bank account.

The court will rule tomorrow in Hatuikulipi's application that N$5.75 million must be made available.

Other issues

"The application for a restraint order took a different trajectory when the defendants brought an application to cross-examine the PG and [whistle-blower] Jóhannes Stefánsson," Sibeya noted.

Despite the fact that the defendants failed in their application, they submitted a petition to Chief Justice Peter Shivute to review this decision, but this was also unsuccessful.

Thereafter, the parties were granted leave to file supplementary affidavits.

Recent judgment

The judgment delivered yesterday relates to when an interlocutory application must be heard. The application deals with the content of Imalwa's supplementary statement, which the defendants claimed is irregular and contrary to the court's rules.

The defendants insisted that this application be heard separately before the case proceeds. However, Sibeya ruled in Imalwa's favour and ordered that the issues be heard together.

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Namibian Sun 2024-05-27

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Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 353.63/OZ UP +0.70% | Copper US$ 4.80/lb UP +1.35% | Zinc US$ 3 077.30/T UP 0.19% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 83.32/BBP UP +1.20% | Platinum US$ 1 055.12/OZ UP +2.42%