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We are relentlessly pursuing the fishing scandal probe – Noa

Paulus Noa

The ACC said on Wednesday that the information they gathered when whistleblowers reported the fishing bribery scandal involving two ministers and an Iceland fishing company were not enough to compile in a docket they could have sent to the prosecutor general in 2014.

Wikileaks exposed the corruption scandal this week in leaked that showed Iceland’s biggest fish company, Samherji, had paid at least $150m in kickbacks over four years to secure Namibian fishing quotas.

Former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau, former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, James Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Tamson ‘Fitty’Hatuikulipi had benefitted from a N$150m fishing bribery scandal since 2014.

Esau and Shanghala resigned from their ministerial positions on Wednesday, while James, who was Investec Asset Management’s managing director also resigned on Thursday.

President Hage Geingob said he had accepted the resignations “due to the severity of the allegations in the press”.

Public enterprises minister Leon Jooste has asked the acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana to remove James as the Fishcor board chairperson as well as that the board should fire the company’s CEO Mike Nghipunya.

Paulus Noa, the ACC director said in a statement that they had been pursuing the investigations into the allegations since 2014.

According to Noa, although the docket was opened in 2014, the ACC received more allegations during November 2018.

Since then, Noa said, ACC has been relentlessly pursuing the allegations with an objective to get substantive evidence.

Noa further said a statement under oath was obtained from the whistleblower and other potential witnesses.

“In the course of the investigation, ACC has engaged counterparts and relevant stakeholders inside and outside the country with an objective to assist with the investigation of various aspects as revealed by our sources.

“The reason for requesting international cooperation from our counterparts is to consolidate the investigation. The cooperation will as well ensure speedy finalization of the investigation. This is a complex cross-border investigation and all documents and alleged financial transactions need to be verified before the docket is submitted to PG
for a decision,” he said.

Wonder Guchu

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