De Klerk extradition request referred to Interpol

South African authorities have roped in Interpol to help them comply with Namibia’s request to extradite the fugitive lawyer.

13 January 2022 | Local News

OGONE TLHAGE







WINDHOEK

The South African ministry of justice and correctional services says it has approached the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) regarding a request to extradite fugitive lawyer Maren de Klerk to Namibia, where he is wanted for charges related to the Fishrot saga.

South African authorities yesterday told Namibian Sun that they have complied to requests to extradite De Klerk, who faces charges related to money laundering.

De Klerk is the one-time lawyer of former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, who is currently in jail awaiting trial in the same case.

The lawyer had also at one stage been questioned by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), but immediately left for South Africa and is yet to return to Namibia more than two years later.

It is not clear whether De Klerk is still in South Africa or has skipped that country amid efforts to return him to Namibia.

De Klerk is accused of being the paymaster in the corruption scandal by using the trust account of his now defunct law firm DHC Incorporated. He is alleged to have facilitated the transfer of N$50 million in alleged bribes.

The money was in turn allegedly paid to the men implicated in the scandal.

The pre-trial for the matter, in which N$75.6 million was transferred from fishing parastatal Fishcor through DHC Incorporated’s trust fund, will start on 22 April, while the Nangomar case – in which N$103 million was allegedly embezzled - was postponed to 5 February.

Enter Interpol

Providing feedback on De Klerk’s planned extradition to Namibia, spokesperson in the ministry of justice in South Africa, Chrispin Phiri, said Interpol had been asked to intervene in the matter.

“Please note that the matter has been referred to Interpol for further action,” Phiri said.

Ministry of justice legal advisor Lennon Limbo also informed Namibian Sun that it had done all it could on its end to extradite De Klerk and that it was now up to the South African agencies to execute the extradition.

Request effected

Also speaking on the matter was Namibian police chief, inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga, who said a formal request had been made for De Klerk’s extradition.

“We have requested South Africa for De Klerk to be extradited. We did all that was required and as per the mutual agreement with South Africa, all the procedures have been followed; we have been waiting for South Africa to pronounce itself,” he said.

According to Ndeitunga, the last update he got was that a South African High Court was supposed to rule on the matter.

“A decision was supposed to be taken by a judge; now I am not sure whether a decision was made and what the decision was,” he said.

De Klerk, Shanghala, former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, the Hatuikulipi cousins Tamson and James, Pius Mwatelulo, Ricardo Gustavo, former Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya, Otjozondjupa regional council employee Otniel Shuudifonya, Philipus Mwapopi and Nigel van Wyk all face charges related to money laundering.

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