Fishcor workers gun for board

Fishcor workers want the two line ministries to investigate possible management and board complicity in the Fishrot bribery scandal.

24 February 2020 | Crime

Workers at the beleaguered National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor), its subsidiary Seaflower Lobster Corporation and a joint venture in which Fishcor has substantial interest, Seaflower Whitefish Corporation, are demanding the immediate removal of the directors and management of the three companies.

The workers demand that curators be enlisted until new directors can be appointed in accordance with the Public Enterprises Governance Act.

They further want criminal complaints to be filed immediately, and an investigation into possible complicity of the remaining directors in the Fishrot saga.

The workers, who want to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, have written a letter through their lawyer Norman Tjombe to the acting minister of fisheries and marine resources Albert Kawana and the minister of public enterprises Leon Jooste.

In the letter, they also demand an urgent and immediate review of the past financial statements, including the management accounts, and an urgent review of minutes of all meetings of the board of directors and of management.

The workers are furthermore calling for an immediate review of all agreements between Fishcor and any other entity or person, including agreements to catch and utilise the fish quotas of Fishcor, operational agreements, and consultancy agreements.

They want immediate legal action against any person or entity that may have misappropriated monies of Fishcor and its subsidiaries. This, they say, should include applications for the liquidation and sequestration of such entities or persons with the view of recovering any misappropriated monies and assets of Fishcor and its subsidiaries.

They want to be informed in writing of measures put in place to ensure that no further corruption and fraud is possible.

The workers have given the ministers until 13 March, failing which they will take legal action, including an application in the High Court that demands that action be taken against the directors.

They said Fishcor's finances are in such a precarious situation that there was a risk they would not get paid in January.

This, they said, is despite reported earnings increasing by 21% - from N$393.7 million in 2017 to N$447.7 million in 2018 in the Fishcor Group's financial statements for the financial year ending in September 2018.

The chairperson of the Fishcor board, James Hatuikulipi, has been removed and is in jail in connection with the bribery charges. Earlier this week, Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya was suspended and arrested too.

CATHERINE SASMAN

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