ACC casts net wider for more Fishrot assets
26 October 2020 | Local News
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) says it is closing in on seizing more assets linked to the Fishrot accused.
This was after the anti-graft agency announced over the weekend that it had obtained a warrant to seize Tamson Hatuikulipi’s Mercedes Benz SL 65 AMG, with the registration number FITLAS NA.
ACC spokesperson Josefina Nghituwamata told Namibian Sun yesterday the luxury car is worth about N$1.3 million.
She said the warrant was issued and executed under section 22(4) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2003.
Nghituwamata said the commission is very careful about releasing information on whose assets would be targeted next, as the culprits may interfere with their investigations.
She added that the public will be updated as the ACC makes progress.
PG changing of guard ‘a non-issue’
Meanwhile, the ACC also said it is not concerned that the appointment of a new prosecutor-general will have any impact on major corruption cases it is investigating.
The ACC had been given a 14 December deadline to conclude its investigations into the Fishcor and Nangomar Pesca corruption scandals.
After it has completed its investigations, the prosecutor-general will have to decide whether to prosecute.
Current prosecutor-general Martha Imalwa is retiring at the end of the year.
The Judicial Service Commission has set a 31 October deadline for the position.
‘Not in a position to answer’
Director-general Paulus Noa was asked whether a change of guard in the PG’s office would affect major investigations currently under way.
“That can only be answered by the people in the PG’s office. I am not in a position to answer. What we have, and what is relevant to the PG’s office, we provide and that is our responsibility,” he said.
Noa said ACC investigations were continuing regardless.
“The investigations are not dependent on one individual. Investigations will go on. Normally when a person leaves an office, documents are left behind, investigations go on accordingly,” he said.
Imalwa declined to comment when asked what her December exit would mean for pending cases.
“I am not going to entertain any questions pertaining to that,” she said.
Noa had previously indicated that the anti-graft unit was well on course to wrap up its investigations relating to the two Fishrot cases.
“We are progressing to make sure that before the deadline we have submitted necessary information to prosecutor-general Martha Imalwa to take a decision,” he said.
“Remember, we are talking about a case that goes beyond our borders. We are talking about a case that involves forensic analysis and some assets and so many things. But we have to do what we can do to ensure we comply with the court order,” he said.
Noa added that while there are countries that are cooperating with Namibia, the language barrier may pose a challenge.
In September, Magistrate Vanessa Stanley hinted that the court might have no further reason to keep the Fishrot accused in custody if investigators did not wrap up their work by 14 December.
She granted the State a final postponement in the Fishcor and Nangomar Pesca court cases. In the Fishcor matter, the accused are suspended Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya, former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, former Investec CEO James Hatuikulipi, businessman Tamson Hatuikulipi and Pius Mwatelulo.
They stand accused of having benefitted from a bribery scandal involving millions of dollars in exchange for lucrative fishing quotas to Icelandic company Samherji, using Namibia's national state-owned fishing company Fishcor.