Fishrot duo pay farm loan

After last week’s court order authorising Bank Windhoek to repossess farms belonging to the two Fishrot accused, the men quickly made amends.

04 November 2020 | Crime

OGONE TLHAGE







WINDHOEK

Fishrot accused James Hatuikulipi and Sacky Shanghala have made a payment on adjacent farms on which they owe Bank Windhoek in the region of N$11 million.

The duo risked losing the two farm portions after falling behind on payments since June.

It is on these farms the two men were arrested on 27 November last year.

It is not clear how the payment was made after the Bank of Namibia's Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) had frozen the two men’s bank accounts last November.

The Bank of Namibia yesterday said the freezing of the accounts only lasted 10 days, in accordance with regulations.

No knowledge

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) said it is unaware of what transactions the Fishrot accused are carrying out while awaiting trial.

ACC director-general Paulus Noa said the agency had compiled a list of assets owned by all Fishrot accused persons, which it had handed over to the Office of the Prosecutor-General.

“I have no information of such payments being made… that information has not been brought to my attention.

The ACC is not responsible for applying for the seizure of assets, Noa explained.

“That power lies with the Office of the Prosecutor-General in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act. From our side, we cannot say they cannot make payments. The assets are still theirs, even if they are restrained.

Prosecutor-general Martha Imalwa did not respond queries related to the payment made by the duo and the close corporation as well as whether an application had been made for the seizure of assets.

It is also not clear at this stage how much the pair has paid to avoid having the farm portions being repossessed.

Rush against repossession

An order had been granted by judge Collins Parker last Friday to have the farm repossessed to enable the bank to recover its money.

The bank had also sought to have the farm portions repossessed after both Hatuikulipi and Shanghala failed to oppose its intended actions.

The claim against the defendants was filed at the court on 25 September.

Million-dollar loan

A document filed at the Windhoek High Court stated that Bank Windhoek sued Shanghala and Hatuikulipi as well as the close corporation Olea Investments Number Nine, in which they are partners, after they failed to keep up with the repayment on a N$10.1 million loan granted in April 2017, The Namibian reported earlier this week.

In terms of its loan agreement, Olea Investments had to repay the loan through 20 annual instalments of about N$1.3 million each.

The close corporation was in arrears with about N$1.2 million by the end of July, and currently owes Bank Windhoek about N$11 million, the bank said.

The bank also informed the court that Shanghala and Hatuikulipi bound themselves as surety for the repayment of the loan.

The two face charges related to money-laundering and using their positions for self-gratification, and will make a court appearance for two parallel criminal cases on 14 December.

Frozen

In court papers last year, Hatuikulipi had questioned why his banking accounts had been frozen by former finance minister Calle Schlettwein.

The action by Schlettwein led to a N$150 million decline in his bank accounts. According to Hatuikulipi, Schlettwein had no legal right to freeze his assets.

He added that the blocking and/or freezing of bank accounts infringes and violates not only on the right to property, but the right to dignity as well.

Staff go unpaid

Hatuikulipi added that as a result of this violation, his staff members could not be paid their monthly salaries. In the papers, he said entities owned by himself and Otuafika Logistics employed 22 people.

He also lamented the fact that his domestic staff could not be paid in November 2019.

Other concerns were his mortgage bonds, rates and taxes as well as water connections for properties he leases out to tenants.

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