Word for word: ACC grills Otneel Shuudifonya

29 January 2021 | Opinion

On 11 June, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigators interrogated Otneel Shuudifonya (OS) in connection with transactions allegedly linked to the Fishrot scandal. Shuudifonya is currently in jail awaiting trial alongside other accused. An affidavit leaked this week details the full conversation between Shuudifonya and ACC investigators, Andreas Kanyangela (AK), Willem Olivier (WO) and Selma Kalumbu (SK). Here are excerpts – published as is - from their gruelling session.

OS: Okay. My name is Otneel Shuudifonya. I am a trustee of Fine Seafood Investment Trust and I am also a director for Ndjako Investment CC. So those are the companies where I have my interest in. So, we are more into property investment and fishing because I, okay, I also have interest in Fine Seafood CC as well where we do fish distribution across the country. We do export at some points. So, those are my companies where we are, I have interests and where we are busy doing some lots of tradings every day.

AK: Case is Ndjako Investment, Fine Seafood Investment Trust and Fine Seafood CC.

OS: Yes.

AK: So, these are the three companies in which you are having interests?

OS: Yes, correct.

AK: Is there any other person who is having interests in these companies, in these companies that you just mentioned?

OS: Yes. Fine Seafood CC, the CC Samuel Israel is having an interest there. Samuel Israel is having an interest and Fine Seafood Investment Trust. Sacky Kadhila is having an interest there in the trust. And those are the members who are having interests in those companies.

AK: And in Ndjako Investment?

OS: Ja, that one it is only me who is having an interest there.

AK: Okay. That one is only you?

OS: Ja.

AK: Okay. These Ndjako Investment, Fine Seafood 10 Investment Trust, Fine Seafood CC, does these companies have any properties?

OS: Ndjako have got properties. Fine Seafood Investment Trust have got also one property.

AK: And which properties is Ndjako owning?

OS: Ndjako is owning, is owning, how many are they now? They are three now. One, two are in Ondangwa in Onethindi area and one in Omuthiya. Most of them we bought them, when was it? Long time now.

AK: And how do you know these companies, GTH Trading CC? Do you know such a company?

OS: G?

AK: GTH Trading CC.

OS: JT, JTH, JTH? This company, no, we made use of the service from this company. We used their trucks, I remember. We used their trucks and I remember also, you will see it on the, on my, on my payment records. Remember when I made one payment I also made to this company according to the agreement which is here.

AK: Okay. Otwafika Logistics?

OS: Otwafika, I know Otwafika since 2017.

AK: How do you know it?

OS: Otwafika I came to know it when… It was 2011 when I was introduced by my cousin. We went to visit James' place. You know, my cousin was a friend to James and we went to visit James' place.

AK: Who is the cousin?

OS: My cousin is the, he introduced me to James in 2009, [20]10 there. We went to visit their residential and then that is the first time I came to meet James.

WO: James who?

OS: James Hatuikulipi.

AK: And who is the cousin who went to introduce you to James?

OS: It is Tangeni Shitumbuleni. You know, us, we grow up in Okatope area and these guys they are just in Ohangwena, 15 kilo[metres]. So we went to visit the residential because my cousin is a friend to them. That is when I came to know them and then Otwafika came in 2017 when I was looking for financial assistance from James.

WO: Who is Otwafiwa and who is JTH Trading? You said you used the trucks of JTH Trading.

OS: Ja.

WO: But I am asking number one who is JTH Trading?

OS: No, when I used the JTH, the truck, we got it from Fitty. Fitty gave us the truck. Fitty is the guy, is the guy Fitty Hatuikulipi also.

WO: Is Tamson Hatuikulipi?

OS: Yes. James is the guy whom I met, is the guy who, when I went to look for finance he is the guy who introduced me to Otwafika. He said no, we want you to help us, but you will see the, the agreement which you have signed. If you want us to help you, we will help you through Otwafika. But then when we went to sign the agreement you will see also we were, there were two. It was him and Pius. Then Pius was the one signing the agreement.

AK: Okay. And Omualu Fishing?

OS: Omualu, Omualu is a company I know because we used to buy a lot of fish there and I know because I was find Seafood CC used to buy from Omualu. And also our Fine Seafood Investment Trust which is, which is now owned between me and Sacky because… [incomplete]. I end up know Omualu because my trustee of the Fine Seafood Trust, he is also a director at Omualu.

AK: Okay. Then what about this one - Gwanyemba Investment Trust? How do you know this company or this trust?

OS: Gwanyemba Investment Trust, that is a company where, we have an agreement with that company where we a merger investment. I came to know in, it was introduced to me by my partner, you know, Samuel Israel, the guy who is in the CC. He introduced it to me in 2017 around August there. Around August. Not August, March. March. I cannot remember the month exactly but it was in 2017. He introduced to me, Samuel Israel, that no, they have a trust and they, and in that trust they are with Mike Nghipunya and they are busy doing investment in diamonds in Angola. That is what, that is how my partner introduced it to me. Then when I heard it about it we, I did also a trip with them to Angola because I was having an interest in that area also. And then that is when I end up knowing what they were doing there when I went to visit and then when we came, I said ‘guys, I want to join you’.

AK: So, is there, so Gwanyemba Investment Trust is having, you are saying that it is having activities in Angola?

OS: Yes. There is, there is, with GIT and Ndjako there, we have a special purpose vehicle. There is a company registered, Gwanyemba Investmento in Angola. You will see it here in the documents. Gwanyemba Investmento is a company registered in Angola where the trustees of GIT are also there. This company is having a joint venture agreement with the licence holders, you know, those concession holders. The concession holders, they have a joint venture agreement where Gwanyemba is having 70% and then the concession owners they have 30%. So, we have a special purpose basically where we say Ndjako, me, I came in saying 'guys, what if I put money here, if I put money here then you, I will put it as a loan then when we are doing production you return my money. Then once my loan is fully paid, I have 30% interest'. So that is what we have agreed.

AK: Okay. Do you perhaps have any idea as to which property is Gwanyemba Investment Trust having?

OS: No, locally here I do not know which property they own. Apart from what they have the other side.

AK: This Ndjako Investment CC, Fine Seafood Investment Trust, Fine Seafood CC and Gwanyemba Investment Trust, do you perhaps know as to who are the signatories to these companies’ accounts? Who are having signatory powers there?

OS: Okay. Ndjako, I have signatory power. Fine Seafood CC me and Samuel Israel have got power. Fine Seafood Investment Trust I have signatory power also. Gwanyemba Investment Trust, no, that one I am not sure.

AK: Our investigation reveal that Fine Seafood CC is having two bank accounts at FNB [First National Bank Namibia]. Who are the signatories on these two accounts?

OS: It is me and Samuel.

AK: Is Mike Nghipunya having any interest in these two companies? In this Fine Seafood CC company?

OS: The trust or the CC?

AK: Both of them.

OS: He is having an interest in the CC. Ndjako, no, he does not have. The trust of Fine Seafood, no, he does not have. The CC he is having an interest, in the CC.

AK: What interest is he having there?

OS: The interest which he is having there is the, is the loan which he gave to Fine Seafood CC when it started.

AK: He gave a loan of how much?

OS: Of N$1.3 million.

AK: To do what?

OS: It was to, it was for buying containers. You know. Fine Seafood has got containers in Walvis [Bay] and then Otjiwarongo and then Ondangwa. He was assisting us to buy those containers and also to acquire the first… [indistinct]. The first stock which we bought, which we bought, the first consignment of fish which we bought to resell, it was his money. Plus all the connections when we were connecting all these three… [indistinct] containers, it was his capital.

WO: You sell fish?

OS: Ja, because we have distribution centres. Otjiwarongo we have a big one. Ondangwa we have something there.

WO: Where do you buy the fish?

OS: Fish, no, we buy from various companies. That time we used to buy, most of our fish used to come from Omualu. Most of our fish also used to come from Saga Seafood. Most of our fish also used to come from Blue Sea. Most of our fish also used to come Sea Flower. So we have a lot of various suppliers.

SK: That N$1.3 [million] you mentioned, did you say it is what you used to start the Fine Seafood?

OS: CC, ja.

SK: So, was it a loan (intervention)?

OS: Ja.

SK: Which you had to pay back?

OS: Yes. And we did not pay it and that is why he is having that, we are still having that obligation to him because that loan agreement is very clear. It says he will even take some assets at some stage when we are not fulfilling our obligations.

AK: Tell me, what is your relationship to Mike Nghipunya?

OS: Our relationship is commercial, meaning I met him through Samuel. That was long way back now around 2000, and when I was a student here. I just met him 2009, [20]10 there. That is when I met him. And then our relationship now is that his business relationship because I put my money on that Gwanyemba, in that Angola project. Ndjako put a lot of money there and then he also assisted us to establish the Fine Seafood CC with that N$1.3 million. So that business relationship is just the relationship which we are, which we are having. We do not have other relationships.

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