Questions over 'special' status for Sisa
Richard Metcalfe wanted to know whether Sisa Namandje and another Fishrot-implicated lawyer Maren de Klerk had been granted immunity or whether they were being lined up as State witnesses.
13 July 2020 | Justice
A lawyer representing former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau and his son-in-law and co-accused, Tamson Hatuikulipi, wanted to know whether attorney Sisa Namandje is in a “special category”, as he has thus far not been arrested, despite Fishrot funds allegedly being funnelled through his law firm's trust account.
Richard Metcalfe, who with Florian Beukes is representing Esau and Hatuikulipi in their bail hearing in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court, posed this question to Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) senior investigator Karel Cloete on Friday.
“A trust account is a sacred account. You cannot transfer and deposit monies willy-nilly,” Metcalfe said.
He asked Cloete whether Namandje and another Fishrot-implicated lawyer Maren de Klerk had been granted immunity or whether they were being lined up as State witnesses.
“Is Sisa Namandje a special category lawyer? Money which you (the ACC) regard as illegal went into his account. Mr Namandje is in the country and there has been no warrant of arrest. Is he a State witness?” Metcalfe asked.
Cloete responded that he is not yet sure whether these implicated lawyers will become State witnesses, as the investigations are still ongoing.
Earlier last week, Cloete's colleague at the ACC, Willem Olivier, told the court their investigations found that N$17.5 million in Fishrot proceeds were allegedly paid into Namandje's law firm's trust account. According to Olivier, N$15 million and N$2.5 million were paid into Namandje's trust account under the reference “governmental objectives”.
“This was flagged as suspicious. Part of this money was used for vehicles, personal loans and other items. And as far as investigations found, monies were used for the Swapo campaign,” he said.
A judgement in the legal battle between Namandje and the Law Society of Namibia (LSN), related to the matter, is expected on 21 July.
The LSN dragged Namandje to the High Court to compel him to open the financial records of his trust account.
According to Cloete, De Klerk told the ACC in his affidavit that the Fishrot accused conspired to commit fraud and the investigation will soon indicate whether De Klerk is a State witness or suspect.
Metcalfe asked Cloete whether the ACC was aware that De Klerk is admitted in a psychiatric institution in South Africa, yet it seems as if he “played with a lot of money”.
Cloete responded that he is aware of De Klerk's mental health issues.
Metcalfe was also strongly opposed to a request by State advocate Cliff Lutibezi, who asked whether they could cite from the court records of the bail applications of two other Fishrot accused, Mike Nghipunya and Ricardo Gustavo.
“This is a different matter and the court record from another matter cannot be incorporated in the current matter. I've never heard of nonsense such as this,” Metcalfe said.
Magistrate Duard Kesslau declined the request by the State.
The bail matter was remanded to 21 July for submissions and 22 July for a possible ruling.