‘Use me as a state witness’: De Klerk spills beans

18 January 2021 | Crime

Mathias Haufiku


In an affidavit leaked last week, lawyer Maren de Klerk opened up on how the Fishrot scandal was plotted and pleaded with the prosecution to make him a state witness.

De Klerk narrated how he met key players in the corruption and bribery scandal and denied claims that he masterminded the scheme in which he played a key role.

He also claimed there were other lawyers used to facilitate the transfer of funds “under a clandestine shield of attorneys’ trust accounts”.

De Klerk, who in the past served on the ethics committee of the Law Society of Namibia, also accused fishing boss Adriaan Louw from African Selection Trust (AST) of devising the creation of Seaflower Pelagic Processing (SPP) along with former justice minister Sacky Shanghala and James Hatuikulipi.

Louw, who is also the chairperson of SPP, denied having any involvement in the corruption masterplan, but also did not position De Klerk as the scheme’s paymaster.

“I did not take a single cent from anybody,” Louw told Namibian Sun’s sister publication, Republikein.

AST owns 60% of the shares in SPP, while the remaining 40% belong to Fishcor.

Swapo ‘boys’ club’

De Klerk indicated that he did not hesitate to go into business with Shanghala because he would “become closer to the Swapo boys’ club”, which would boost his financial development.

He mentioned that his company, Celax Investments, was used to fund Swapo’s election campaign.

He added that Shanghala and Hatuikulipi told him that President Hage Geingob mandated them to set up a structure to deal with the management and distributions paid to Swapo by supporters.

The structure would allegedly be used to administer and distribute the contributions, he said.

“Shanghala informed me that the boss had appointed Hatuikulipi as his economic advisor to design a bespoke structure to manage and to distribute these contributions,” De Klerk revealed.

The proposed title for the structure was Ndilimani - the name of Swapo’s music group.

Stolen funds

De Klerk also indicated that he chose not to raise concerns with Shanghala and Hatuikulipi as he feared it would jeopardise his relationship with them, which could result in him forfeiting lucrative financial opportunities.

He claimed that he did not know that the money Celax received was “stolen funds”.

Celax, according to De Klerk, was used to pay money to Swapo leaders, Ndilimani Cultural Troupe and service providers who did work for Swapo.

Swapo has since last year consistently denied benefitting from the Fishrot scandal.

De Klerk said he earned around N$4 million in fees from the time he was appointed as director of SPP.

He added that DHC Incorporated was instructed by the authorities to ringfence all remaining funds held for Swapo, Shanghala and Hatuikulipi. This amounts to N$4.8 million.

Keeping mum

Swapo has come under fire again at fresh allegations that it had improperly benefitted from proceeds made dubiously by public entity Fishcor.

Upon enquiry, presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari said the case has now reached a sensitive stage as the Prosecutor-General has taken a decision.

“The president has in the past addressed and denied the most unfair and unfortunate allegations and insinuations being made against him in the matter you are referring to. The president maintains his position in this respect,” Hengari said.

“The president will not seek to jeopardise or influence the administration of justice through public statements induced by the media. The president will, when trial-related rules and ethics allow and at an appropriate time, extensively address the unfortunate insinuations, conjecture and mischievous interpretations, with a view to demonstrate their falsity.”

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