No arrest warrant for fugitive Fishrot lawyer

16 June 2020 | Justice

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK

There is still no warrant of arrest out for fugitive lawyer Marén de Klerk, wanted in connection with N$90 million paid out in dubious transactions from the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor), the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has confirmed.

De Klerk was managing director of De Klerk, Horn & Coetzee (DHC) Inc., a law firm through whose trust account the dubious payments were made. He was also partner in the firm.

ACC spokesperson Josefina Nghituwamata also confirmed there are still no criminal charges brought against De Klerk, as investigations into his alleged role in the multi-million bribery saga have not yet been completed.

Ongoing

The ACC, which questioned De Klerk in December 2019 before he left the country in January for South Africa, is leading this investigation.

“The investigation has not been completed yet. As per the norm, when an investigation is complete, it is forwarded to the prosecutor-general for a decision [whether or not to charge] the person,” she said.

Nghituwamata was also asked if the firm’s financial records were being scrutinised for more information.

“Investigation in this matter is ongoing, hence we cannot divulge more information in relation to the investigation being conducted,” she said.

Fishrot case

The scandal has already claimed the arrests of suspended Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya, the company’s former board chairperson James Hatuikulipi, his cousin Tamson Hatuikulipi, former ministers Bernhardt Esau and Sacky Shanghala, Pius Mwatelulo and Ricardo Gustavo, who all face charges related to money laundering.

Nghipunya has in the meantime applied for bail, and the verdict is pending, while Gustavo’s bail application was rejected in court recently. All seven men are in custody.

One of the DHC directors, Stoan Horn, yesterday told Namibian Sun the law firm, though disbanded, was cooperating with investigators into the Fishrot scandal.

“Investigations are ongoing into the matter; therefore, I am not obliged to comment… because of our cooperation with the investigating authorities, we are not obliged to comment,” Horn said.

Testifying during Nghipunya’s bail application recently, ACC investigator Willem Olivier said the funds had been used to buy houses, cars and a portion of a farm.

The money was raised through Fishcor’s quota meant to fund government projects.

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