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I’m a dedicated father – Esau tells court

Former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau told the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court that he is a dedicated father who would not abandon his family.

Esau said this Tuesday when he appeared in court for the oral submission in his bail application.

The former minister was arrested in November last year on allegations of receiving bribes in the Fishrot scandal.

He has applied for bail together with his co-accused and son-in-law Hatuikulupi. The two are part of a group of seven – James Hatuikulipi, former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, Pius Mwatelulo, Ricardo Gustavo and Mike Nghipunya.

Gustavo and Nghipunya have already applied for their bail hearing while Mwatelulo launched his on Friday. Shanghala and James are yet to make their move known.

As part of his submission, Esau also said that he has never resided outside Namibia and that if he absconds he stands to lose all the assets he has offered to the state as surety.

His lawyer, Richard Metcalfe,  said Esau has lost all his prominence, authority and office and has handed over his passport.

“The first applicant would be instantly recognisable at any border post,” Metcalfe said, adding that it appeared as if there is a plan to financially emasculate Esau prior to conviction.

He lawyer submitted that “There is an attempt to stop them from accessing their funds for their defence.”

Esau added that he will stand his trial because he is not guilty.

“The first applicant had ample opportunity to depart Namibia. The first applicant has a number of employees on his farm. He also needs to generate income to prepare for his legal defence. Justice can not be served if he continues incarcerated,” Metcalfe said.

The lawyer said Tamson Hatuikulipi employs 30 people and cannot afford to abscond as he is forced to resuscitate his business to raise money for his defence.

According to Metcalfe, there is no evidence linking Esau and his son-in-law to the N$63 million in Kazakhstan.

He said the “ACC is desperate to make sure the applicants won’t get bail and will resort to any nonsense”.

Esau’s lawyer said fraud is part of white-collar crimes that are not associated with violence hence applicants are not a threat to the public if released on bail.


Wonder Guchu

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