Jooste jumps into 'Fishgate'

18 November 2019 | Crime

Public enterprises minister Leon Jooste has called for the removal of Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya and board chairperson James Hatuikulipi, following a N$150 million bribes scandal that has already claimed the scalps of former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau and former justice minister Sacky Shanghala.

It has been alleged by an international investigation that all four individuals received bribes from Icelandic fishing company Samherji in exchange for handing it Namibian fishing quotas.

Jooste wrote to acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana last week, recommending the removal of Hatuikulipi.

“I wish to recommend in line with Article 14(1)(f) of the Public Enterprises Act that Mr James Hatuikulipi be removed as a board member and chairperson of Fishcor and any subsidiary of the company with immediate effect,” he wrote.

Jooste also recommended that Hatuikulipi be stripped of any powers as board chairperson, saying he should not have any signing privileges.

“That any form of power of attorney, including signing powers at financial institutions be removed immediately.”

Jooste recommended that the Fishcor board convene and appoint a chairperson from amongst its members, in line with Article 6 of the Public Enterprises Act.

He also called for the dismissal or suspension of Nghipunya.

“The board considers the immediate dismissal of the CEO of the company, or alternatively, immediately suspend the CEO for further investigations.

“Dear colleague, I believe the above recommendations are in the best interest of the company and its subsidiaries, and that these interventions will protect the interests of the state as shareholder,” Jooste wrote to Kawana.

Hatuikulipi last week resigned from his position as managing director of Investec.

In a statement, Investec spokesperson Gwynneth Rukoro confirmed Hatuikulipi's resignation.

“We can confirm that James Hatuikulipi has resigned with immediate effect. Due to the serious nature of these allegations, Ricardo Gustavo has been suspended with immediate effect, pending the outcome of our ongoing independent investigations,” she added. The director-general of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Paulus Noa said last week that an investigation was underway.

“We are not prepared to share that information with anyone right now. We are now working on that matter,” Noa said. Also implicated is Esau's son-in-law Tamson 'Fitty' Hatuikulipi, who is also the cousin of James Hatuikulipi.


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