ACC eyes more Fishrot emails

04 February 2020 | Crime

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is gunning for more evidence related to the Fishrot Six case and is in discussions with other anti-graft agencies to ensure the release of emails withheld by Icelandic whistleblower Jóhannes Stefánsson.

It is alleged that Stefánsson has in his possession 44 000 emails, of which only 18 000 have been released to WikiLeaks and international anti-graft agencies.

Icelandic fishing company Samherji, which is accused of paying bribes in exchange for horse-mackerel fishing quotas, alleges Stefánsson cherry-picked the emails he leaked to WikiLeaks. Stefánsson was Samherji's country manager for Namibia.

The emails led to the resignation and arrest of former justice minister Sakeus Shanghala, former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, former Investec MD James Hatuikulipi, Investec business manager Ricardo Gustavo as well as Esau's son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi and Hanganeni employee Pius Mwatelulo.

The ACC said it was working with authorities in Iceland to ensure that evidence it does not have is shared.

“The investigating team is in consultation with counterparts and authorities of countries where relevant information and documentary evidence are required. All information material to the case will be shared with us, either by the authorities or relevant entities,” ACC spokesperson Josefina Nghituwamata said.

Samherji questioned why Stefánsson only released some emails and not the entire communication related to the scandal.

Stefánsson had at least 44 028 emails in his mailbox between 2014 and 2016. He handed over 18 497 emails from that period to WikiLeaks, which amounts to only 42%.

Most of the emails he omitted are from February 2015 to December 2015.

The ACC also recently announced plans to intensify the search for assets owned by the Fishrot Six outside Namibia.

“As soon as we know, we will take legal action,” ACC director-general Paulus Noa said.

According to him, once found, such assets will be turned over to the Office of the Prosecutor-General to be attached and/or frozen.

The Fishrot Six are currently remanded in custody with a bail hearing set for 20 February.

OGONE TLHAGE

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