Govt dismisses Shanghala’s legal help request

The Attorney General refused to elaborate on why the request was rejected.

10 June 2021 | Justice

JEMIMA BEUKES







WINDHOEK

Government has rejected former justice minister Sacky Shanghala’s request for the Office of the Attorney-General to either provide legal representation or pay his legal fees in the ongoing Fishrot bribery case.

This was confirmed by Attorney General Festus Mbandeka on Tuesday.

“The decision was taken by this office and has already been communicated to him through his lawyers at the beginning of April 2021,” Mbandeka said.

Shanghala made the request in December 2020.

The Attorney General refused to elaborate on why the request was rejected.

“Given the nature of this matter, I cannot comment on the details, but it suffices to say that his request was declined,” he said.

Delay

Shanghala has been in jail since November 2019 and his assets, including his bank accounts, have been frozen as part of an investigation into allegations that he and his cohorts facilitated and accepted bribes worth millions of dollars in exchange for fishing quotas.

It took government five months to decide on the matter, despite warnings from political analysts that the delay was bad for the state’s image and would add fuel to suspicions that government cannot be trusted to handle the Fishrot case in a transparent manner.

Shanghala, who served as justice minister at the time of his arrest, is accused of having accepted bribes in exchange for lucrative fishing quotas.

He is also accused of having amended the Marine Resources Act to grant his co-accused, former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, the sole right to dish out fishing quotas through which millions of dollars ended up in the accounts of companies linked to the now notorious Fishrot Six and their allies.

Shanghala was arrested alongside Esau, James and Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Pius Mwatelulo following reports that Icelandic fishing firm Samherji had secured access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia by paying bribes of around N$150 million to politicians and businessmen between 2012 and 2018, according to the Fishrot Files of Wikileaks.

Of the six accused persons, only James, Shanghala and Mwatelulo are yet to apply for bail.

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