Authorities not pursuing 'missing' Fishrot lawyer

24 February 2020 | Crime

The Anti-Corruption Commission and the Namibian police have not put in a request for the apprehension of Mare´n de Klerk, a lawyer linked to the Fishrot saga. He is alleged to have syphoned N$50 million in illicit financial flows through the trust account of a law firm.

The money is alleged to have been moved to the account of the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) through De Klerk, Horn & Coetzee (DHC) Incorporated. De Klerk is the managing director of the firm.

ACC director general Paulus Noa last month said the search for De Klerk was on as a result of his implication in the saga.

An amount of N$90 million paid by Fishcor appears to have benefitted former justice minister Sakeus Shanghala, former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, former Fishcor board chairperson James Hatuikulipi, Esau's son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi, Investec employee Ricardo Gustavo, suspended Fishcor employee Mike Nghipunya and Hanganeni employee Pius Mwatelulo, who are facing corruption charges stemming from the payment of bribes in exchange for fishing quotas.

De Klerk, who is a business partner of Shanghala, is believed to be in South Africa and has been in that country since the scandal unfolded.

“We have not received a formal request from authorities,” South African Police Services spokesperson Brenda Muridili said.

The ACC and Nampol are supposed to put in a request for De Klerk's apprehension through Interpol, Muridili added.

Noa said they were “seized with the matter” when questioned why De Klerk had not been apprehended yet.

Noa was also questioned about the alleged involvement of presidential lawyer Sisa Namandje, through whose firm's trust account N$7 million was paid to businessman Vaino Nghipondoka by James Hatuikulipi.

The Law Society of Namibia indicated last December that it is investigating Namandje's trust account in light of revelations made in the Al Jazeera 'Anatomy of a Bribe' documentary, chairperson Meyer van der Berg said.

Namandje's law firm's trust account is alleged to have channelled N$17.5 million in illicit financial flows from public entity Fishcor to Shanghala and Esau from 2015 to 2017. Also under investigation is Walvis Bay lawyer Sacky Kadhila-Amoomo, who allegedly played the role of 'fixer' between foreign business people and Esau.

Namandje and Kadhila Amoomo were identified in the documentary, which investigated the bribery scandal in Namibia's fishing industry.

OGONE TLHAGE

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