Fishrot Six throw toys out over magistrate
31 August 2020 | Justice
Lawyers representing the so-called Fishrot Six have threatened to approach the Magistrates' Commission, should a new presiding officer not be appointed for their next court appearance on 4 September.
This emerged in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court on Friday, where former Investec managing director James Hatuikulipi, former Investec business manager Ricardo Gustavo, former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, his son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi, Pius Mwatelulo and former justice minister Sacky Shanghala made an appearance before Magistrate Venatius Alweendo.
Florian Beukes, who is representing Esau and Tamson, said there was an understanding that a different magistrate would be presiding over the matter. The accused had previously requested a new magistrate who has not presided over any of their previous court appearances.
Beukes and advocate Tinashe Chibwana, who is representing James, Shanghala and Mwatelulo, both said they will engage the Magistrates' Commission.
Alweendo, however, said an arrangement would be made for another magistrate to hear the matter.
The Fishrot Six matter is one of four cases linked to the bribery scandal currently before the courts.
It was previously revealed that between 2012 and 2013, Namibia entered into a joint-venture for horse mackerel fishery with Angola, which was being represented by Namgomar SA Pesca, a sister company to Namgomar Pesca Namibia, created in 2014.
Namgomar Pesca Namibia then entered into an agreement with Icelandic seafood company, Samherji, which allegedly paid more than N$100 million in kickbacks to businesspeople and politicians in exchange for access to Namibia's fishing quotas.
Gustavo runs Namgomar Pesca Namibia. He is a director and only employee of the company.
The catching agreement was signed in 2014, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigator Karl Cloete testified previously.
Gustavo and his co-accused allegedly travelled to Angola in June 2014 to finalise the deal. The agreement stipulates that the company would pay N$500 per metric tonne for a period of 10 years.
“During our investigations, we uncovered that the price for that particular agreement was not market-related, as other companies paid N$3 000 per metric tonne over a period of 10 years,” Cloete testified at the time.
ACC bribery case
Meanwhile, James, Jason Iyambo and police reservist Sakaria Kokule also appeared on Friday in connection with a separate Fishrot matter relating to the attempted bribery of an ACC investigator, who was allegedly offered N$250 000 to hand over bank cards linked to James and Mwatelulo and their businesses, as well as a handwritten document titled 'total allocation'.
Alweendo remanded the matter to today for a pre-trial conference.