Fishrot shows the worst in us – Schlettwein

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein aired his disappointment in the Fishrot saga again last week, having called the involved former ministers' activities criminal last December.

24 February 2020 | Crime

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein has once again condemned the Fishrot corruption scandal, calling it one of the most unpleasant incidences of 2019.

Schlettwein was addressing his staff members last week.

“The Fishrot saga is one of those incidences that show the worst of us and they are extremely harmful to our reputation but also to our wellbeing, our physical well-being. They are harmful to treasury, they are harmful to the economy, therefore they are harmful to each and every one of you,” said Schlettwein.

He said the quality of life Namibians enjoy could have been better had it not been for the scandal.

“We could have had a better life were it not for them who caused it and for the damage they caused to the country.”

According to Schlettwein, the scandal set a bad precedent for Namibia going forward.

“It is much more than reputational risk or how we are perceived. It is in fact how we are able to live and what type of future we are able to give to our children and that is a matter that we have to introspect on.”

It is not the first time Schlettwein is airing views castigating the scandal. In December, he said the activities of former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau and former justice minister Sakeus Shanghala were criminal.

Shanghala amended the Marine Resources Act, giving Esau discretion to allocate fishing rights to prospective rights holders.

An Al Jazeera documentary titled Anatomy of a Bribe also showed how Esau had solicited bribes in exchange for the allocation of fishing quotas to alleged Chinese investors.

“The Al Jazeera video shows a typical case of resource looting from a developing country by a multinational company with the involvement of few highly placed and influential Namibians. It is criminal,” he tweeted.

“All must be prosecuted. The process [that] has started must be completed,” his tweet further read.

Schlettwein was joined by public enterprises minister Leon Jooste and energy minister Tom Alweendo in airing their views on the scandal.

The criticism however drew condemnation from President Hage Geingob.

“You are behaving like you are cleaner than others,” Geingob said.

He added: “If you are not happy with how the case is being handled, then why don't you just resign?” The Namibian reported.


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