Cabinet shoulders fishing quotas burden

Cabinet will be roped into what is suspected to be a tainted application process for fishing rights, which has been delayed for over a year.

05 December 2019 | Fishing

Acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana will seek cabinet guidance on whether or not to proceed with the allocation of fishing rights, amidst fears the process has been tainted by the so-called Fishrot scandal.

With former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau currently under arrest over allegations he has been accepting bribes in return for allocating fishing quotas to unscrupulous companies, there is genuine fear that last year's fishing rights applications process was only a formality to sugar-coat a corrupt syndicate.

Speaking to Namibian Sun yesterday, Kawana confirmed he was scheduled to meet stakeholders in the fishing industry next week to chart a way forward regarding fishing rights.

He will then brief cabinet on the discussions held with industry before seeking guidance on whether to start the process afresh, as bribery allegations mount.

Esau is alleged to have given lucrative fishing rights to Icelandic company Samherji in return for handsome kickbacks.

Also arrested in connection with the same scandal is former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, suspended Investec manager Ricardo Gustavo, former Investec managing director James Hatuikulipi and his cousin Tamson Hatuikulipi, who is also Esau's son-in-law. Another relative, Pius Mwatelulo, was also arrested, while the CEO of state-owned fishing company Fishcor, Mike Nghipunya, was suspended.

“Next week I will engage the fishing industry, engage workers, to try and stabilise the industry. For now, I do not want to say anything. These are issues that need to be directed to cabinet. Once cabinet agrees, we will inform the nation on the way forward. I do not want to jump the gun,” Kawana said.

The fisheries ministry received 5 193 applications for fishing rights in September 2018. It is not clear when Esau planned to allocate the rights.

Asked what had transpired in a meeting he planned on having with President Hage Geingob over the same issue, Kawana said: “We do not want to hide anything. When I was appointed, I told the president that I would do everything to restore trust in the fishing industry. The president has given me the mandate to look into this.”

Kawana was also asked whether his ministry was doing internal investigations to establish whether fishing rights had been allocated dubiously by his predecessor, Esau.

“As we go along, we will inform authorities of abnormalities,” he said.

“At the moment, there is a criminal element [investigation] going on being spearheaded by the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Namibian police and national intelligence [service],” he remarked.

Shangala was head of the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC) when the Marine Resources Act was amended in 2015.

The amendment gave Esau leeway to allocate fishing rights at his own discretion. This led to the demise of Bidvest Namibia's fishing arm, Bidfish, which closed down and resulted in the holding company delisting from the Namibia Stock Exchange after Esau stripped them of fishing quotas.

Nearly 1 000 employees of these companies were retrenched as a result.

Esau allocated a considerable chunk of the fishing rights to state-owned entity Fishcor, which is alleged to have been used as a front to corruptly hand out fishing rights.

Icelandic whistleblower Jóhannes Stefánsson implicated Esau and Shangala in the syndicate, alleging that the two had used their positions to dubiously channel quotas to Icelandic company Samherji, which paid them kickbacks in return.

The charges against the Fishrot Six, as the accused are now infamously known, state that the six men accepted or agreed to accept in excess of N$100 million from Samherji's Namibian subsidiaries from 2014-2019 to secure fishing quotas. Stefánsson was in charge of Samherji's Namibian business interests at the time.

Esau is also charged with awarding a quota of up to 55 000 tonnes of horse mackerel to a private Namibian company, Namgomar Pesca, in exchange for bribes. Gustavo is a director in the company.


Similar News


Retrenched fishermen to get jobs back

1 month - 12 December 2019 | Fishing

Acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana says all the workers who lost their jobs due to Namsov losing its fishing quota under dubious circumstances during the...

Fisheries federation wants assurances

1 month - 09 December 2019 | Fishing

The chairperson of the Federation of Fishing Associations Matti Amukwa says he would like to see acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana create stability following the...

Retrenched fishermen narrate ordeal

1 month - 06 December 2019 | Fishing

“My car was repossessed by the bank as I could no longer honour my payment obligations,” Sylvester Mbadi, a former employee of Namsov, has told...

Cabinet shoulders fishing quotas burden

1 month - 05 December 2019 | Fishing

Acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana will seek cabinet guidance on whether or not to proceed with the allocation of fishing rights, amidst fears the process...

Icelandic, Russian captains appear for illegal fishing

2 months ago - 22 November 2019 | Fishing

JEMIMA BEUKES Icelandic and Russian fishing boat captains have appeared in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court for illegal fishing in Namibian waters.Police...

Another Fishgate 'kingpin' falls

2 months ago - 21 November 2019 | Fishing

Fishcor board chairperson James Hatuikulipi has resigned from the state-owned fishing enterprise amid the ongoing fallout over an alleged bribery scandal involving hundreds of millions...

Icelanders fed with bribery loot

2 months ago - 20 November 2019 | Fishing

While Namibians have faced drought, hunger and poverty over the years, Iceland's biggest seafood company Samherji fed thousands of that country's residents for free at...

'We didn't go to the bush for corruption'

2 months ago - 20 November 2019 | Fishing

Attorney-general and acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana says the liberation struggle was never about self-enrichment, while strongly hinting at the betrayal of those who are...

Blue economy in spotlight

2 months ago - 20 November 2019 | Fishing

The fisheries ministry on Monday commenced a two-day high-level expert policy dialogue on the blue economy, climate and environmental sustainability.The dialogue, which ended yesterday, was...

Whistleblower spills more beans

2 months ago - 19 November 2019 | Fishing

Jóhannes Stefánsson, the Icelandic fishing executive who says he facilitated N$150 million in bribes for Namibian politicians and officials in exchange for gaining access to...

Latest News

Gome hopes to revive career

1 day - 27 January 2020 | Sports

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa Brave Warriors midfielder and former Cape Umoya United player Wangu Gome is eager to find a club. The midfielder has been without...

Sex crimes exposed

1 day - 27 January 2020 | Crime

The sleepy town of Rehoboth is finding itself in the middle of an unfolding #MeToo storm following the arrest of a retired teacher for the...

Charred remains of girl not...

1 day - 27 January 2020 | Crime

The burnt body of a girl aged between seven and 10 found in a garbage skip in Windhoek North on Saturday has not yet been...

Pupils can return to school...

1 day - 27 January 2020 | Short News

Max Makushe Senior Secondary School's 1 200 pupils, who were last week released from attending classes because of damaged hostel cooking pots and cold storage...

Adapt or die

1 day - 27 January 2020 | Opinion

There is a sense of frustration and anger in our nation that keeps growing. The realities faced by many youth, especially those who are unemployed,...

NSC preaches accountability

1 day - 27 January 2020 | Sports

The Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) says 2020 will be a year of accountability and activity implementation, with many events on the sporting calendar.This was the...

A cursed football nation

1 day - 27 January 2020 | Sports

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa I was hoping for a better year in the football fraternity but it appears as if we are...

Nienaber named new Springbok coach

1 day - 27 January 2020 | Sports

Jacques Nienaber was named the new Springbok coach on Friday as part of a revised coaching panel that will report directly to Rassie Erasmus, South...

Rössing marathon next month

1 day - 27 January 2020 | Sports

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa Athletes from all works of life are gearing up to participate in the annual Rössing national marathon championship, slated for...

Load More