Fishrot: Samherji executive castigates PG

02 June 2021 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES



WINDHOEK

Samherji executive Ingvar Júlíusson has hit out at Prosecutor-General (PG) Martha Imalwa for her alleged failure to inform the High Court that Icelandic prosecution authorities have rejected her request to have that company’s officials extradited to Namibia over the Fishrot scandal.

Júlíusson, in papers filed in the High Court, said Imalwa’s request was declined on 19 February, but she has not divulged this information to the court.

He works as the Icelandic fishing giant Samherji’s chief accounting officer and also served as the financial director for Saga Seafood, Esja Investment and Heinaste Investments.

These entities are at the heart of the Fishrot bribery scandal through which millions of dollars were embezzled, according to Namibian prosecutors.

The Icelandic accused are yet to be officially charged for their alleged part in this scheme and must first be extradited to Namibia.

This is contrary to a submission made in April by the state attorney Ed Marondedze that extradition proceedings were underway to bring the Icelanders to Namibia.

“What he should have stated to the court was that the PG’s efforts to extradite the directors of the foreign defendants failed. I cannot understand how the prosecutor could not have informed the court about this crucial fact. This omission by the PG is misleading and in serious need of explanation by the PG,” Júlíusson said.

Haphazard investigation

In his founding affidavit filed this week, he accused the PG of pushing a haphazard investigation with regards to payment made to a Dubai bank account while failing to report who these payments were made to.

Júlíusson also accused her of ignoring that there is no evidence that incriminates foreigners implicated in the Fishrot bribery scandal.

“She does not give a single example of a politician - other than perhaps indirectly Sacky Shanghala and Bernhardt Esau - who may have received payments from some of the other defendants and of which the foreign defendants - barring Johannes Stefansson - who received bribes. In short, her whole case is based on the theory that hundreds of millions were paid to dummies for onward payment to high political offices. But she points to no high political office towards which the multi-million Namibian dollars went,” he said.

According to him, Imalwa has failed to provide evidence that the Icelanders indeed promised to pay these payments which now amounted to a bribery scheme.

She also failed to inform the courts that her extradition order in February was recused by Icelandic authorities and that there is no guarantee that the ‘star witness’ Stefansson would make it to Namibia to testify, he said.



‘Self-confessed criminal’

Júlíusson urged government to stop relying on Stefansson’s statement, who, in his view, is a ‘self-confessed’ criminal.

“I say that based on these facts. The PG does not say that he [Stefansson] will come to Namibia and he himself does not say so either. The PG doesn’t say that she has offered him any indemnification against being arrested or of being charged when he comes to Namibia. Stefansson himself does not say that some sort of indemnification was offered to him. So, he knows that if he comes to Namibia, he will be arrested and bail will be opposed,” he said.

According to him, Stefansson knows that once he is arrested in Namibia, as a foreigner, the chances of securing bail will be slim and he will be convicted and sent to jail for a very long time.

Egill Helgi Arnason, another Icelander who stands accused of having played a role in the Fishrot bribery case, said there is no way he could have been involved because he only joined the Namibian fishing sector in January 2017 to replace Stefansson.

“I could thus simply not have been involved in any alleged corrupt scheme or any other wrongdoing that occurred before then. I could thus also not have formed any common purpose with any of the other defendants in respect of any of the alleged wrongdoing that occurred prior to 1 January 2017.”

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