• July 7th, 2020
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Fishrot suspects want charges withdrawn

The Windhoek Magistrate’s Court is scheduled to give a ruling on postponing the case of former Cabinet ministers Bernhardt Esau and Sacky Shanghala, as well as their accomplices accused of receiving more than N$130 million in bribes in exchange for fishing quotas.  

The other accused in the matter are James Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo, Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi, Pius ‘Taxa’ Mwatelulo and Mike Nghipunya. On Friday, deputy prosecutor Ed Marondedze sought to have the matter postponed to 28 August for further investigations, a move that was opposed by the defence counsels. Marondedze informed the court that the State would need more time to finalise the investigations due to the magnitude of the case.  “As it stands, 90% of the investigations locally are complete.  We are currently just waiting for co-operation from countries such as Angola, Dubai, Zimbabwe, Spain, Iceland and Norway. This matter goes beyond diplomatic processes. 

So, more time is required that we give justice to the case,” explained Marondedze. 
The State further argued that the amount of time spent by the accused in prison is overshadowed by the magnitude of the case and the serious charges that they face. Thus, a postponement in the matter is justifiable. The accused have only been in custody for six months since their arrest in November 2019. Defence counsels Trevor Brokerhoff, Tinashe Chibwana and Floriene Beukes all opposed the State’s request to postpone the matter. They all brought a counter application for the court to provisionally withdraw the case and subsequently let the accused free while investigations are ongoing. They all argued that the State has no idea when they will finalise their investigations and what still needed to be investigated. “The court should withdraw the matter against the accused while the State gets their house in order. Once they are done with investigations, they can summon the accused to court. That is the common sense we need to apply here,” said Brokerhoff. Magistrate Ingrid Unengu informed the court that she would need time to give a ruling, postponing the matter to 3 June.  

Final postponement 
Meanwhile, in a second case in which Shanghala, Esau, Nghipunya, Mwetululo as well as James and Tamson Hatuikulipi are accused of diverting N$75.6 million to themselves from State-owned fishing company Fishcor, was postponed to 4 September. The six are accused of using the law firm of De Klerk, Horn & Coetzee Inc. and the company Celax Investment Number One to divert Fishcor funds to entities they had an interest in. The postponement is a final one for further investigations into the matter.  In the third case in which James Hatuikulipi, Jason Iyambo and police reservist Sakaria Kuutondokwa Kokule are accused of attempting to bribe an ACC investigator with N$250 000 to retrieve ATM cards from the evidence was also postponed to 28 August. The court postponed the matter for the prosecutor general’s decision since investigations are complete. 
– mamakali@nepc.com.na

Maria Amakali
2020-06-01 09:56:11 1 months ago

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