Samherji accused of cheating local partners

The partnership, formed in 2013, soured in 2019 when a vessel charter between the three local companies and Samherji expired.

29 January 2021 | Local News

OGONE TLHAGE







WINDHOEK

Corruption-plagued Icelandic fishing company Samherji is being accused of gross mismanagement by one of its local partners in a joint-venture (JV) company that gave it a foothold in the Namibian fishing industry.

It is also being accused of making its local partners overpay for the purchase of the Heinaste fishing vessel. In an affidavit in Namibian Sun’s possession, Mino Gariseb claims that Samherji’s local partners - Sinco Fishing, Yukor Fishing and Epango Fishing, of which he is the chairman - got the short end of the stick from Samherji.

The consequences of its alleged mismanagement gave rise to a potential US$43 million (N$649 million) claim by the three local companies.

Samherji formed a partnership with the three local companies in 2013, leading to the formation of Esja Investments.

The three local companies would each be allocated a 17% shareholding while Samherji retained a 49% stake, making it the majority shareholder.

The three companies would contribute their horse-mackerel quotas to the JV while Samherji would provide operational and marketing expertise.

Audit report

The deal soured in 2019 when a vessel charter between the three local companies and Samherji expired and Gariseb now brings into question payments that had been made to the Bank of Namibia.

According to Gariseb, the findings of an audit report on the activities of Esja Investments were damning.

“It revealed inter alia that the joint venture [had] overpaid for the vessel [Heinaste], the company’s annual profits for the period financial year 2013 to financial year 2018 had been stripped and the usage fees that were due [to] the company were underpaid,” Gariseb claims.

“The forensic audit concluded that the minority shareholders have a claim against the company for an amount of US$43 288 787,” he said in the affidavit.

Namibian Sun earlier reported that Samherji had been able to sale the Heinaste vessel to Tunacor through an agreement reached with the offices of the prosecutor-general and attorney-general.

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