State piles more charges on Fishrot 6

19 February 2020 | Crime

OGONE TLHAGE

Additional charges have been piled on top of those that the so-called Fishrot Six already face. The new charges exclude the sixth accused Ricardo Gustavo, the court heard yesterday afternoon.

The five others, who include former ministers Sacky Shanghala and Bernhardt Esau, made a surprise appearance in court this afternoon, ahead of their scheduled appearance tomorrow.

At the first court appearance of suspended Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya, who was arrested yesterday, five of the original six main accused were also present to hear that new charges were added to their files in connection with money allegedly laundered through entities called Salex and DHC Inc.

It was alleged that N$75 million of Fishcor’s money was laundered using these firms.

Former justice minister Shanghala faces an additional charge of obstructing the course of justice.

He, Esau, James Hatuikulipi and Nghipunya are further accused of using state money for self-gratification. Pius Mwatelulo and Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi are accused conspiring in these alleged crimes.

James now also faces a further charge of attempting to bribe an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigator.

He allegedly offered N$250 000 for bank cards and an assets allocation sheet that forms part of the Fishrot evidence.

The matter was postponed to 23 April. Bail was opposed due to the seriousness of the crimes. It was also indicated that the accused may abscond, and that they may interfere with investigations. The State also argued it was not in public interest to release them.

They will all remain in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility. Lawyers for the other main had accused asked for their hearing to continue tomorrow, while Nghipunya's lawyer asked that his case be heard on 23 April.

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