'Fitty' offers N$16m bail guarantee

The Fishrot accused, who is worth N$40 million, says being freed on bail will help him mobilise resources to prove his innocence.

08 July 2020 | Crime

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



Fishrot accused Tamson 'Fitty' Hatuikulipi – whom the State argues was an integral part of the fishing quota bribery scandal – has offered N$16 million worth of unbonded immovable properties as surety for his bail application.

The 39-year-old owns 22 immovable properties across the country, with a combined value of N$40 million.

On Monday, his father-in-law Bernhardt Esau, the country's former fisheries minister, offered his entire wealth of N$23 million as surely for his bail, in addition to N$50 000 in cash.

Hatuikulipi denied the State's version that he benefitted from Fishrot. It would thus be in the interest of the administration of justice if he is granted bail to allow him to mobilise financial resources to prove his innocence, he said.





Stefansson a drug addict

Hatuikulipi described Johannes Stefansson, the Icelandic whistle-blower who implicated him, as a drug addict who confessed his addictions. His versions can thus not be trusted, he said.

On financial transactions linking him to his cousin James Hatuikulipi, the former board chairperson of Fishcor, the state-owned company through which the alleged fishing quota bribes were facilitated, Tamson said there was nothing untoward about relatives 'borrowing' each other money.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is objecting bail for the two men.



Namgomar Pesca

Presenting his evidence in court yesterday, ACC senior investigator Willie Olivier said former justice minister and Fishrot accused Sacky Shanghala and James had travelled to Luanda to negotiate with Angolan authorities about setting up Namgomar Pesca, a joint fishing venture between the two countries.

He said while Namgomar was a government-to-government entity, minutes show that Tamson and James, who are not government officials, attended the meeting in Angola that culminated in establishing the venture.

“It was required by the Namibian authorities to finalise a cooperation agreement on the issuance of quotas. Tamson attended the meeting but was never a government employee and I do not know why he attended this meeting. The same with James,” Olivier testified.

“Investigations found that that there was a well-thought-out plan to use Nangomar to launder money,” the investigator told the court.



Did not exist

The plan involved organising certain businesses, entities and bank accounts that had to be established to get the money rolling in.

“Esau would be accompanied by Shanghala, then the Law Reform and Development Commission chairperson, to a meeting held in 2013 in Angola. The meeting was in Luanda and [it was] here where it was agreed to establish the JV company, Nangomar Pesca.”

“According to our investigation, Namgomar was awarded quotas and did not exist in Angola. Instead, another Namgomar entity [Namgomar Limidada] existed, and its shareholders were family members of the former Angolan fisheries minister [Victoria de Barros Neto].” Shanghala signed documents pertaining the JV agreements, while he did not have such authority, the ACC said.

Only the minister of fisheries or attorney-general could have signed those agreements on behalf of the Namibian government.



'Exploiting marine resources'

“… It is my pleasure to introduce to you the entity Nangomar Pesca to operate in both Namibian and Angolan waters. We have teamed up with Samherji,” a letter by Shanghala to now his co-accused Ricardo Gustavo read.

Gustavo was a sole director of Namgomar Pesca.

“We therefore look forward in exploiting the marine resources to ensure food security,” Shanghala allegedly further wrote.

Esau wrote to the Angolan government that he had allocated 7 000 metric tonnes to Paw Print Investments, which investigators say was owned by Namgomar Pesca, De Barros Neto's family and Gustavo.

The company was not nominated for quotas, ACC said.

The original document awarding quotas to Nangomar Pesca was found in the office formally occupied by Esau, Olivier told the court.

In the letter, Gustavo replied to Esau instead of the permanent secretary of fisheries.

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