Hatuikulipi 'stunned' by frozen accounts

James Hatuikulipi is particularly worried that his right to own property faces real risk and that his life insurance policies may be cancelled due to non-payment.

28 January 2020 | Justice

Former Fishcor board chairperson James Hatuikulipi, who is an accused in the Fishrot scandal, says he was “taken aback” to learn that his personal bank account was frozen and insists that his right to dignity and that of his co-accused is being violated.

The fact that finance minister Calle Schlettwein garnished his account, which led to an N$150 million decline in his bank balance, also bothers Hatuikulipi.

According to him, Schlettwein has no legal right to freeze their assets.

He added that the blocking and/or freezing of bank accounts infringes and violates not just the right to property, but also the right to dignity.

He is particularly worried that his right to own property faces real risk and that his life insurance policies may be cancelled due to non-payment.

“If I and other applicants were to die now, our insurance policies will not pay out and we would lose all our properties that have been insured and/or mortgaged over many years, and which would have rightly been passed on to our heirs. If we fall sick, we will not be able to use our medical aids and have access to our personal doctors and other personnel. I suffer from high blood pressure and the situation of having no access to (my) accounts puts our lives and health at a very high risk,” he said in an affidavit that forms part of a High Court application to have his and his co-accused Tamson 'Fitty' Hatuikulipi's assets, as well as their companies' assets, unfrozen.

According to Hatuikulipi, they have collected money, but only enough to challenge their arrest warrants, from third parties.

Because of the festive season, these third parties could not assist them financially and only came through with financial support after 5 January.

Hatuikulipi, who stands accused of fraud, money laundering and corruption, was arrested in November along with his co-accused former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Pius Mwatelulo.

In his 40-page founding affidavit, Hatuikulipi applies for urgent access to his two personal bank accounts as well as the bank accounts of his businesses.

In court papers, he repeated that he was especially “taken aback” to learn that another bank account he holds with his co-accused and cousin Tamson Hatuikulipi was also frozen.

He also wants access to this account.

According to Hatuikulipi, this account receives funds from his personal account and this is where his debits are paid from.

He would also like to know whether the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is allowed by law to impose a blanket freeze on a banking account.

He further questions the money laundering charge, saying he wants to know in what manner he or his co-accused concealed the true origins of their money.

“It is in the interest of justice that the honourable court intervenes at this stage. Moreover, there is no realistic prospect that the rights infringed can be restored, save by an order of this honourable court. I submit the instances of abuse of power,” he said.

Hatuikulipi added that as a result of this violation, his staff members cannot be paid their monthly salaries.

According to him, the entities owned by Tamson Hatuikulipi employ 35 people, while Otuafika Logistics and himself, as a trustee of the Cambadara Trust, employ 22 people.

He also lamented the fact that his domestic staff could not be paid in November because of the frozen accounts.

Other concerns are his mortgage bonds, rates and taxes and water connections for properties he leases out to tenants.

“I must also pay insurance in respect of my immovable and movable property that I own and if such insurance is not paid, there is a real risk that if any such property was damaged or destroyed in any manner, such property would be lost and I would not be in a position to recover such property,” he said.

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