A man, who was arrested last year for allegedly attempting to obstruct the course of justice in the ongoing investigations of the multi-million-dollar fisheries bribery case, has denied any wrongdoing, citing that he was merely doing his job.
Nigel van Wyk has approached the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court in a bid to be considered for bail. The prosecution is charging Van Wyk with counts of obstructing the course of justice, money laundering and alternative charges that fall under the Prevention of Organised Crimes (POCA).
The State alleges that in November 2019, Van Wyk attempted to defeat the course of justice when he was found removing documents and other materials from the house of former justice minister Sacky Shanghala. The documents allegedly fall part of an ongoing investigation.
The prosecution is further alleging that between January 2018 and December 2019, Van Wyk received more than N$697 000 from Otuafika Logistics. The company is co-owned by James Hatuikulipi and his cousin Pius Mwatelulo. It is alleged that during the same period, Van Wyk further received more than N$309 000 from Olea Investments, a company owned by Shanghala. The money was allegedly transferred to Van Wyk’s personal account held at a Bank Windhoek. The State indicated that Van Wyk knew that the funds were allegedly derived from unlawful activities.
However, Van Wyk informed the court that he intends on taking a no guilty plea, as he had no idea where the money came from.
“As an employee of Olea Investments, how will I know in which activities my employer was involved in? How can I as an employee ask my employer where he is getting his money from?” Van Wyk explained. He further testified the money was transferred to his account because at the time the company had no debit card. The company allegedly only got a debit card in 2019.
“The money that I received was for petty cash. I would use that money to pay for the farm’s expenses. I can provide the court with all the invoices of how that money was used,” he said.
Van Wyk was allegedly employed by Olea Investment as an operational executive from November 2017 till the time he was arrested, earning N$31 000 per month. Van Wyk explained that on the day he was arrested, he was busy loading two bags, two houseplants, one power box and one PC monitor into a vehicle at the residence of Shanghala.
The two bags contained documents, ammunition, a pistol, memory sticks and medicine. He explained that he needed the items in order to set up an office space for Shanghala at Hanganeni headquarters as per instructions of his employer.
Van Wyk said he needs to be released on bail in order to support his family, take care of his children and continue with his studies. He proposed that he is in the position to pay N$5 000 for his release. The State, however, is objecting his bail bid, said the accused already has a tendency of committing similar offenses.
He allegedly has a pending case of assault and attempting to defeat the course of justice, which was registered against him in November 2019. Furthermore, the State fears that he will interfere with ongoing investigations and it would not be in the public interest or administration of justice.
The bail hearing is currently ongoing in Windhoek Magistrate’s Court. Local defence lawyer Jermaine Muchali is representing Van Wyk whilst Salomon Kanyemba is appearing for the State. Ivan Gawanab is presiding.
2020-05-29 10:37:09 3 months ago