Associates shun broke Fishrot crew

The Fishrot accused say they are unable to afford legal services due to their accounts being frozen as well as their old friends’ reluctance to be seen assisting them.

29 July 2021 | Justice

MATHIAS HAUFIKU







WINDHOEK

The accused persons in the Fishrot matter say they have racked up a massive legal bill they cannot afford, and those who are in a position to help them financially are reluctant to do so, fearing victimisation.

They now claim that the court order to freeze their assets has incapacitated them financially, leaving them with a N$580 000 legal bill.

This bill only relates to the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA) provisional restraint order granted against the six Fishrot accused persons - Bernhardt Esau, Tamson and James Hatuikulipi, Sacky Shanghala, Pius Mwatelulo and Ricardo Gustavo - and at least 18 of their respective companies in November 2020, which they are challenging.

Esau and Tamson’s wives, Ndapandula and Swamma, were listed as respondents in the matter.

In court papers filed on Monday, Esau said to fight the POCA case against them, they have been forced to appoint senior counsel to consider the appeal due to the “extensive and complex nature of the papers filed by the applicant”.

“We have been attempting since January 2021 to secure the necessary funds to secure senior counsel. We had some former business associates who advised that they will be able to pay our legal fees and that the funds will be available during April 2021.”

“Our former business associates during April advised that they are reluctant to assist us for fear of being targeted for assisting the so-called Fishrot accused persons,” Esau said.

The former fisheries minister said he and his son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi “simply do not have the necessary funds to pay our legal team and in particular to appoint senior counsel”.

He further stated that they have not paid their legal team so far this year, adding that they are preparing a court application in terms of Section 26 of POCA for the payment of legal fees.

The section makes provision for courts to allow affected persons to make use of their restrained property to pay for reasonable living expenses for that person and any person whom he or she is legally liable to support or maintain as well as reasonable legal expenses for that person in connection with any proceedings instituted against him or her.

Covid hindrance

Meanwhile, Esau said the Covid-19 pandemic has also hindered their ability to prepare their answering affidavits.

Apart from their legal teams being forced to close their offices due to employees who tested positive, Esau himself contracted Covid-19 in prison.

He said he underwent a Covid-19 test on 21 June and his results came back positive the next day. His lawyer Florian Beukes also tested positive days later.

Esau added that consulting with their lawyers is difficult “due to the Covid-19 restrictions imposed” at the Windhoek Correctional Facility.

According to him, they have a strong defence to the restraint application, adding that the Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa failed to make material non-disclosures when her office lodged the restraint application, especially that which relates to the existence of a freeze on their bank accounts by the Bank of Namibia and treasury.

He also claimed that properties purchased prior to 2013 - when the alleged criminal offences took place - should not form part of the frozen assets.

Cause of delay

This week, Esau sought to explain why they failed to file their replying papers before 31 May as directed by the court on 2 April.

He said their legal team received the disclosure relating to the Namgomar case on 6 May, which consisted of about 49 arch lever files containing over 6 900 pages.

“Due to the voluminous nature of the disclosure, it is very difficult to provide instructions to our legal practitioners due to our incarceration as well as strict Covid-19 regulations imposed,” he said.

He added that their unsuccessful recusal application - in which they wanted Judge Orben Sibeya to recuse himself - also contributed to the delay, because they were eager to obtain a ruling on the recusal application swiftly because it had a direct bearing on the restraint application.

The recusal application lasted for almost four months. Esau said they had initially instructed their legal team to appeal the recusal application ruling issued last month, adding that this was not possible “due to lack of funds”.

The Fishrot legal team, according to Esau, has undertaken to file the papers by end of August “despite not having funds available and pending our application for legal fees”.

Similar News

 

No legal aid for Dippenaar in civil lawsuit

3 days ago - 23 September 2021 | Justice

ERWIN LEUSCHNERSWAKOPMUNDClose to seven years after a devastating traffic accident near Henties Bay, which claimed six lives, a trial date is set to be fixed...

‘She is an unruly drunkard’

5 days ago - 21 September 2021 | Justice

TUYEIMO HAIDULA ONDANGWA The woman accused of beating her daughter Wilka Shikongo so...

Man gets 10 years for killing uncle

1 week ago - 14 September 2021 | Justice

TUYEIMO HAIDULA OSHAKATI A man was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in the Oshakati Regional Court last week for stabbing his uncle...

Families of murder-accused pastors seek police protection

1 week ago - 13 September 2021 | Justice

Kenya Kambowe KAHENGERelatives of the two self-proclaimed pastors who are in police custody after allegedly causing the deaths of three people...

Hambukushu chief crossed the line in murder ruling

2 weeks ago - 10 September 2021 | Justice

KENYA KAMBOWE RUNDUThe decision by Hambukushu Traditional Authority leader Erwin Munika Mbambo recently to adjudicate over a matter and fine eight...

Aunt burns nephews’ hands ‘to teach them a lesson’

2 weeks ago - 08 September 2021 | Justice

TUYEIMO HAIDULA OSHAKATIOshikoto police placed two minors in a shelter at Onandjokwe after they survived burn wounds inflicted by their aunt last...

45 years for repeated rape of two boys

2 weeks ago - 06 September 2021 | Justice

TUYEIMO HAIDULAOSHAKATIThe Oshakati Regional Court on Friday imposed a heavy sentence on a man who had raped two young boys over the course of four...

New ombudsman welcomes appointment

2 weeks ago - 06 September 2021 | Justice

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKNewly appointed ombudsman Basilius Dyakugha has dismissed notions that he may not have been the strongest candidate when public interviews were held two weeks...

Judge raises concern over handling of Kora funds

2 weeks ago - 06 September 2021 | Justice

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKJudge Herman Oosthuizen last week expressed deep concern in the manner which public funds are handled when he heard closing submissions in the Kora...

Woman guilty of killing baby set free

3 weeks ago - 03 September 2021 | Justice

TUYEIMO HAIDULA OSHAKATI Oshakati Regional Court on Wednesday set free murder convict Martha Ndakalako Kawela who was charged with killing her...

Latest News

Marketing Namibia as an investment...

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUThe ease of doing business, quality of roads and infrastructure, political and economic stability, good governance and judiciary independence are some of the factors...

Forklifting failure

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Others

Natasja ByleveldAre you OK thinking about unconventional ideas that could uplift society and norms to a higher standard? Do you like a challenge, or do...

Big thinker who is not...

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | People

Contrasting with his considered, analytical, and steady approach to life, Rolf Mendelsohn is an undisputed adventurer. Together with the other founders of Paratus, Rolf...

Children abused as govt turns...

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Police

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEKStaff at a centre for orphans and vulnerable people in Katutura...

Economy crawls into the green

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Economics

Jo-Maré Duddy WINDHOEKNamibia’s economy grew by 1.6% for the three months ended 30 June, the first positive year-on-year quarterly growth since the...

Oxygen giant spreads misinformation in...

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Health

MADLEN DAVIES and TUYEIMO HAIDULA LONDON/OSHAKATI One of the world’s biggest industrial gas companies spread misinformation in an attempt to stop...

Nigeria aims to boost oil...

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Economics

Nigeria said Wednesday it aims to produce 1.88 million barrels per day of crude oil next year and the budget will be based on the...

Submissions open for Hollard Sport...

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Economics

STAFF REPORTERLockdown and the limitations on gatherings and events have driven those in the sports marketing and promotional space to have to adapt, digitise, dig...

An easy ride-hailing platform

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Others

Wetumwene Shikage The everyday experience for many Namibians of getting a taxi to from different locations has been made more convenient. TaxiConnect provides an easy...

Load More