Ministers upset over Fishrot scandal

06 December 2019 | Government

Mines minister Tom Alweendo and public enterprises minister Leon Jooste have slammed their former colleagues Bernhardt Esau and Sacky Shanghala on Twitter.

The two former ministers are in custody, charged with having taken bribes for allocating horse-mackerel quotas to Icelandic fishing company Samherji.

Alweendo called the bribery scandal “deplorable” and “reprehensible”.

“The recent revelation about the plundering of our fisheries resources that is known as Fishrot is reprehensible and needs to be condemned by all of us. What makes it even more deplorable is the fact that it was perpetrated by those entrusted with public office leadership,” said Alweendo.

Alweendo called on law-enforcement agencies to act swiftly.

“Let us demand that the institutions responsible for holding us accountable will leave no stone unturned in their investigations, and ensure that those responsible are held accountable. Namibia is the only country we have and we need to protect its interests and its people,” said Alweendo.

Jooste said he was devastated by the scandal.

“I am personally devastated when I consider the social, financial and reputational consequences of these actions.

“Our ministry will be implementing the new Act very soon and we shall expose and deal with all corruption in public enterprises by appointing highly skilled people in the ministry with the ability to identify and investigate corruption,” said Jooste.

Former health minister Bernard Haufiku also expressed his dismay.

“I expect nothing but the truth, the whole truth about this Fishrot scandal in Namibia. It is depressing, to say the least,” he tweeted.

Haufiku demanded that others implicated in the scandal be locked up with the so-called Fishrot Six, who also include former Investec MD James Hatuikulipi, suspended Investec manager Ricardo Gustavo, Esau's son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi and Pius Mwatelulo.

“If we fail to swiftly and most decisively get to the bottom of this Fishrot scandal by winding up everyone involved and locking him or her up, or if the State loses this case on technicalities, as is often the case, then we can forget about fighting corruption in Namibia,” Haufiku said in a second tweet.

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein had earlier called for all those involved to be prosecuted.

“The Al Jazeera video shows a typical case of resource looting from a developing country by a multinational company with the involvement of few highly placed and influential Namibians. It is criminal.

“All must be prosecuted. The process [that] has started must be completed,” he tweeted.

OGONE TLHAGE

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