Sisa under scrutiny

When approached for comment yesterday, Sisa Namandje simply said: “Madam, you keep calling me and I am saying I am busy. I have no comment.”

04 December 2019 | Crime


The Law Society of Namibia (LSN) is closely monitoring allegations linking lawyers Sisa Namandje and Sacky Kadhila Amoomo to the Fishrot scandal, following an Al Jazeera documentary that aired on Sunday.

Namandje dropped a call from Namibian Sun yesterday and asked that questions be texted to him, but ignored the Whatsapp message.

When Namibian Sun followed up with another call he simply said: “Madam, you keep calling me and I am saying I am busy. I have no comment.”

WikiLeaks documents allege that state-owned fishing entity Fishcor paid N$17.5 million into Namandje’s trust account in 2015 and 2017.

This money is allegedly linked to the Fishrot scandal in which former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, former justice minister Sakeus Shanghala and others are implicated.

The two cabinet ministers and four others have been arrested and are in custody.

The other accused so far are former Fishcor board chairperson James Hatuikulipi, Esau’s son-in-law Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi (who is also James’ cousin), Investec Asset Management senior employee Ricardo Gustavo and Pius ‘Taxa’ Mwatelulo. Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya has been placed on suspension after it came to light that he had allegedly used his office as leader of the state-owned fishing company to allocate fishing rights in exchange for money.

The Al Jazeera documentary showed how undercover journalists pretending to be Chinese investors interested in getting a foothold in Namibia’s fishing industry approached Namandje to be their local consultant.

In the documentary Namandje informed the journalists that he was there to guide them to “do it legally”.

“If you want local partners… local business people. I can also get you to the right people to talk to. That is my specialisation and I do deliver,” said Namandje, who has represented all three post-independence presidents in Namibia.

He also warned the undercover journalists to be discreet and careful about whom they talked to about bribing Esau.

“If you speak to a number of people about that, you will end up (handcuffing gesture)… I am not involved in who is to be paid and what the money is for. I also do not want to be involved in that discussion,” Namandje said.

LSN chairperson Meyer van den Berg told Namibian Sun that it is unheard of for a lawyer to keep such a huge amount of money in his trust account without knowing the origin.

“For such an amount he would have to establish the source of the money according to the Financial Intelligence Act,” said Van den Bergh.

He added that although corrupt practices, money laundering and similar offences are serious offences and pose severe threats to the rule of law, the law society appreciates that all persons are presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

“In light thereof, the LSN has received numerous requests for commentary on the matter known as the ‘Fishrot Scandal’, but so far there has been no written complaint lodged with the LSN against any lawyer in connection with this matter,” he said.

Van den Bergh said they may launch an investigation into alleged unsatisfactory conduct by a legal practitioner, either following a formal complaint or on the council’s own volition, if the council reasonably believes that any member is guilty of unsatisfactory conduct.

A local lawyer believes that Namandje has a case to answer and must explain how he managed to hold N$17 million in his trust account while not knowing what it was for.

She said a trust account should not be used to keep money for someone for unexplained reasons and should only be used for the money of a client to pay fines or deduct fees for legal representation.

“As a lawyer you need to know what it is all about. It may be difficult to link him to everything, but he certainly must explain himself,” the source said.

Political commentator Henning Melber also believes Namandje must provide some answers about his role, because it was obvious that he was more careful than the others and felt uncomfortable during the interview.

“At times he almost seemed to have a suspicion that this could be a set-up. After all, he is not stupid. But I think even he made mistakes by offering too much insider knowledge. He was the facilitator in an illegal monetary transaction and thereby involved in money laundering.

“His cautious remarks were revealing in as far as he indicated that this was a shady deal and that he knew that the transfer was done under a cover-up of a bribery deal. He will of course claim that this is not the case and that he acted in [good faith] and only guided by professional ethics in providing services to clients,” said Melber.

He added it would be difficult for Namandje to get off the hook.

“He rather cautioned the others to be careful and not to speak about it, because otherwise they could get into trouble, while making the handcuffing gesture. I am curious to see how he will respond, also given that Swapo and Geingob were mentioned too, when it comes to party donations for the election campaign.

“I would not be surprised if he would act upon instruction of the president or the party and refute the claims and dismiss the documentary as a misleading smear campaign.

“The evidence, however, speaks against this version and will not be convincing. It will only be believed by those who want to believe it; not by those who watch the visuals and listen to the conversation,” Melber added.

[email protected]

Similar News


Harambee transparency target missed

17 hours ago | Crime

The latest corruption perception rankings by an international graft watchdog show that Namibia has missed the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) target of being the most...

Man kills girlfriend, commits suicide

17 hours ago | Crime

A 25-year-old man committed suicide by hanging himself with a rope in his shack after stabbing and killing his girlfriend near Karasburg in the //Karas...

Fishrot bribery ring widens

1 day - 23 January 2020 | Crime

While the main accused in the Fishrot bribery scandal await a hearing date in the Supreme Court to challenge their incarceration, another hanger-on, who allegedly...

Former cop appears for internet fraud

1 day - 23 January 2020 | Crime

The Walvis Bay Magistrate's Court has denied bail to a 30-year-old former policeman who made his first appearance on charges of internet fraud on Tuesday.Ricardo...

‘It’s no gimmick’

2 days ago - 22 January 2020 | Crime

OGONE TLHAGE New Windhoek mayor Fransina Kahungu has moved her office to the Babylon informal settlement, saying this will put her in touch with the city’s residents. The move...

Woman aged 101 commits suicide

3 days ago - 21 January 2020 | Crime

The Oshana police have opened an inquest docket following the shocking report of a 101-year-old woman allegedly committing suicide in the region at the weekend....

Child shot while playing with gun

3 days ago - 21 January 2020 | Crime

A three-year-old girl was shot in the leg last Sunday in the Omusati Region when she and another child were playing with a firearm. ...

School computer thieves stump cops

4 days ago - 20 January 2020 | Crime

Efforts by the Oshana police to recover 67 laptops, valued at N$223 800, that were stolen from two neighbouring schools in Ongwediva have proven futile....

Pensioner accused of incest

1 week ago - 15 January 2020 | Crime

A 68-year-old man, arrested on Friday after he allegedly repeatedly raped his eight-year-old daughter, made his first appearance before the Rehoboth Magistrate's Court on Monday....

Kalahari assaults to be probed

1 week ago - 15 January 2020 | Crime

ELLANIE SMIT Two videos depicting members of Operation Kalahari Desert assaulting civilians will be thoroughly investigated.The actions by members of the anti-crime...

Latest News

A peek into the HR...

17 hours ago | People

Julia MushellengaThere are a few initiatives one can use to empower employees, but my main preference is through engagement. It’s important to create engagement platforms...

Same old, same old

17 hours ago | Education

At Nkurenkuru Combined School in Kavango West Region, learners are being taught under trees, seated on the floor or standing for hours due to a...

Fishrot bail strategy revealed

17 hours ago | Justice

The six men accused of accepting bribes worth N$150 million in the so-called Fishrot scandal have so far avoided applying for bail to protect details...

N$60m in SA worker funds...

17 hours ago | Banking

A whopping N$60 million belonging to the South African Municipal Workers Union National Provident Fund was among the so-called investments that have gone missing as...

Bank Windhoek assigns Muukua with...

17 hours ago | Society

Bank Windhoek has appointed Veripura Muukua as its new Communication Practitioner, tasked with Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and Stakeholder Engagement, effective Wednesday, 15 January 2020.In...

Investing in the people

17 hours ago | Society

Mariselle Stofberg“A new decade signals a time for reflection and focus on new opportunities that lie untapped before us. A decade passed teaches of victories,...

Commit to be fit

17 hours ago | People

Mariselle Stofberg It takes exceptional perseverance and determination to continue to chase your dreams despite adversity and complications that may arise. Jonathan Mweneni Mwafangeo has...

The value of the journey

17 hours ago | People

Mariselle Stofberg“So many times I focused on what I wanted to become, neglecting the process required to get there. As I matured, I realised the...

The struggle kids conundrum

17 hours ago | Opinion

The issue of struggle kids being prioritised for cleaner and labourer jobs has again reared its ugly head in the form of ongoing protests at...

Load More