Fishrot Six challenge search warrants

24 January 2020 | Justice

The so-called Fishrot Six have filed an urgent High Court application in a frantic attempt to overturn two sets of search warrants on their immovable properties issued by the magistrate's courts in Windhoek and Gobabis.

In a separate court application they are also challenging the freezing and/or blocking of their various personal and business bank accounts at the behest of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).

The six – former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, former justice minister Sackey Shanghala, co-accused James Hatuikulipi, Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo, and Pius Mwatelulo – are challenging the process followed in applying for the search warrants, the actual searches, the search warrants themselves, and the alleged conduct of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Namibian police.

The two courts individually issued search warrants on 23 November and 9 December last year.

The accused are objecting to searches for large sums of cash, desktop computers, laptops, iPads, memory sticks and other electronic devices such as cellphones.

They claim there is not a single allegation that large amounts of cash were given to any one of them, or that their communications devices contain any information relevant to the investigation into the Fishrot scandal.

Furthermore, they claim that the search warrants did not specify the specific electronic devices that may be searched for.

They also object to an attempt to conduct searches at the business premises of Olea Investments, a company in which Shanghala and James Hatuikulipi hold shares.

Another objection is against a search conducted at a rental property of Tamson Hatuikulipi in Cimbebasia, where they claim tenants were harassed to hand over rental agreements to officials.

'Vague, overboard and unintelligible'

The accused claim that the search warrants are “vague, overboard and unintelligible”, and “fall short of nothing more than being a fishing expedition”.

They accuse the ACC of having seized firearms, rifles and ammunition from Esau's farm, as well as from Farm Dixie, in the presence of Shanghala and James Hatuikulipi. Farm Dixie is owned by Olea Investments.

Esau further claims that during a search carried out at Farm Dakota on 12 December, N$60 000 belonging to his son and about N$18 000 belonging to the farm were seized. He claimed that salaries and wages books were also seized.

He said during the same raid the keys to a double-cab bakkie were seized.

Esau claims that Shanghala's cars - a Range Rover Vogue and a Mercedes-Benz E400 - and Gustavo's vehicles have been seized, and that there are plans to seize James Hatuikulipi's vehicle.

Esau further complains that the search warrants made “fair game” of any bank deposit slips, financial statements, VAT returns, documents related to the acquisition or sales of properties or assets of the accused.

“It [the search warrants] authorises a blanket invasion and does not set down a basis why such a blanket invasion of rights would be authorised,” the accused state in their founding affidavit.

They further claim the search warrants grant law-enforcement officers “unlimited discretion”, and that they therefore can “do as they wish and seize whatever they determine in their opinion to be relevant”.

Privileged and confidential documents of Investec Asset Management Namibia, James Hatuikulipi's former employer, were allegedly also wrongfully seized.

The application will be heard by the High Court on 4 February.


Similar News


ACC summons Fishrot defence lawyer

1 day - 27 February 2020 | Justice

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday summoned South African lawyer, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, to submit a statement explaining a N$50 000 payment he received in 2018...

No reprieve for Fishrot 6

1 week ago - 21 February 2020 | Justice

The so-called Fishrot Six yesterday returned to the Windhoek Magistrate's Court, which ordered that they be remanded in custody until 23 April to allow for...

Judiciary hits back

1 week ago - 19 February 2020 | Justice

The Office of the Judiciary has defended itself against “undue attacks”, including a Landless People's Movement (LPM) allegation that it has been captured by the...

Lack of funds bedevils access to justice

2 weeks ago - 14 February 2020 | Justice

Namibia is struggling to serve justice because of inadequate funding, Chief Justice Petrus Shivute said at the official opening of the legal year this week....

Hands off Judiciary - Geingob

2 weeks ago - 13 February 2020 | Justice

President Hage Geingob has cautioned Namibians not to question the integrity of the Judiciary, because that would cause chaos or anarchy. Geingob was speaking...

Courts' hands tied

2 weeks ago - 12 February 2020 | Justice

Money and staff shortages have led to the National Forensic Science Institute (NFSI) being unable to conduct scientific examinations on time, which is causing court...

Court scraps EVMs without trail

3 weeks ago - 06 February 2020 | Justice

The Supreme Court yesterday declared that the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) without a paper trail during the November 2019 presidential election was unconstitutional,...

Captain fined N$950k, Samherji vessel released

3 weeks ago - 06 February 2020 | Justice

The captain of an Icelandic vessel linked to the Fishrot bribery scandal has been fined N$950 000 or 12 years in prison by the Walvis...

Supreme Court upholds presidential poll result

3 weeks ago - 05 February 2020 | Justice

JEMIMA BEUKESThe Supreme Court has ruled it will not nullify the result and order a rerun of the 2019 presidential election, which means that Hage...

Itula vs Geingob: Endgame beckons

3 weeks ago - 05 February 2020 | Justice

STAFF REPORTER With judgment in the presidential election challenge brought by independent presidential candidate Dr Panduleni Itula set to be handed down...

Latest News

Shimbulu reinstatement declared illegal

17 hours ago | Politics

Oshakati town council legal consultant Jan Greyling has penned a damning opinion on the nomination and swearing-in of Katrina Shimbulu as a councillor, and her...

Has ACC finally awoken from...

17 hours ago | Opinion

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has for years stomached bashing for its perceived 'small fish' approach to corruption.In fact, there is nothing suggesting that corruption has...

Samherji throws lifeline to Geysir...

17 hours ago | Labour

Workers currently on Samherji's Geysir vessel, which is fishing in Mauritania, will keep their jobs, while the rest of the crew who were left in...

MTC to build 270 houses

17 hours ago | Infrastructure

MTC is planning to construct 270 houses and will partner with the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) for the delivery of the homes in...

Neckartal level at 5.2%

17 hours ago | Weather

The multibillion-dollar Neckartal Dam has received inflow of about 45 million cubic metres of water since the beginning of this month. To put this in...

The passion of Cassidy Karon

17 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

We all can pretty much nod at the fact that Cassidy Karon is currently at the frontline of youth, fashion and street culture in Namibia....

The flip-flop drag

17 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

After years of tossing and turning in their grave, the fashion gods and ancestors have finally defeated the powers of death and risen once again....

Online, online, online!

17 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

Since taking over tjil last year, I have been met with praise, yet also criticism. I have been met with pride, yet also concern. It's...

Song Night is back

17 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

Consistently exceeding expectations of nurturing the Namibian sound, Song Night, now sponsored by RMB, pledges to focus even more on mentoring musicmakers and bringing explosive...

Load More