Opposition take aim at Shanghala's laws

26 November 2019 | Government

Opposition leaders McHenry Venaani and Mike Kavekotora say all legislation and amendments that Sacky Shanghala worked or advised on while first heading the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC), then as attorney-general and later as justice minister should be scrutinised.

A shadow has been cast over Shanghala since he was implicated in the unfolding Fishrot scandal along with fellow former cabinet minister Bernhardt Esau. Both resigned recently amid the revelations that Namibian politicians and officials allegedly received about N$150 million in bribes from Icelandic seafood company Samherji in exchange for fishing quotas.

Kavekotora, who is the leader of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), said yesterday he had expressed strong opposition to an amendment to the Marine Resources Act in 2015 that gave then fisheries minister Esau powers to allocate fishing rights as he saw fit.

This had followed a 2014 High Court ruling that said an allocation by Esau of 10 000 metric tonnes of horse mackerel to state-owned fishing company Fishcor was illegal, because the entity was not a horse mackerel fishing rights holder.

The allocation of the rights to Fishcor is now seen as a smokescreen to allocate the rights to Samherji, in return for kickbacks to those now implicated in the Fishrot debacle.

They include Esau's son-in-law Tamson 'Fitty' Hatuikulipi, his cousin James Hatuikulipi, then then board chairperson of Fishcor, his former colleague at Investec Ricardo Gustavo and Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya.

Bidvest's Namsov Fishing Enterprise and Atlantic Harvesters of Namibia had sued Esau in 2014 after their quotas were cut.

However, a subsequent amendment to the Marine Resources Act empowered the minister to allocate quotas to Fishcor in order to “advance any social, economic, cultural or other government objective in the public interest”.

Kavekotora questioned yesterday how many amendments Shanghala had a role in that were riddled with the possibility of corruption.

“To me it is just not the fisheries legislation, but many of these acts.

“Unfortunately it gave Esau absolute power to do what he can do best - that is to empty the coffers of the state,” Kavekotora said.

“It was a well-calculated move. Everything Sacky touched, from the LRDC, to attorney-general, must be reviewed.”

Kavekotora added: “I will not be comfortable allowing a law to go through parliament that came through Shanghala and Esau.”

He reiterated his stance that corruption was endemic in Swapo.

“I stand by what I said: Poverty in Namibia is man-made and corruption has become part of the institution [Swapo].”

Kavekotora questioned asset declarations that were given in parliament and asked how Shanghala was able to accumulate his wealth.

“His house on the farm looks like a house in Manhattan, New York,” he said.

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader Venaani said he had for long questioned the amendment to the Marine Resources Act.

“I have been the only person saying there was no justification for the amendment. I was overruled by the majority,” said Venaani, when asked what his stance was when the amendment was made.

According to him, Fishrot is only the tip of the iceberg.

Venaani claimed there were many more parties involved and not only the Icelanders through Samherji.

“Fishrot is deeper than the Icelandic scandal. The Spaniards are also involved,” Venaani claimed.


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