On Wednesday, the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) said they are taking a step in restoring stolen money from corrupt activities under their wing.
To do this, AR has said it entered into a partnership with a United Kingdom-based company, Restitution.
According to AR spokesperson Simon Amunime, the team will explore various approaches to asset recovery stolen through the misappropriation of fishing licenses, including the Fishrot saga.
Restitution is the world’s first and only impact litigation fund dedicated to working with partners to trace and return illicit financial flows through civil litigation, enforcement and asset recovery.
Amunime said no civil action had been taken to recover money owed to the country that has been stolen through this illegality.
“We are hopeful that civil enforcement could lead to the return of assets of several million,” he said.
He added that they also discuss litigation options with other civil societies.
According to AR leader, Job Amupanda the fishrot matter has always been of concern.
“In regards to how this fishrot scandal has been handled, we realised that it is not any different from how other corruption scandals have been handled. That is why we are bringing a new dynamic,” he said.
Amupanda added that the partnership with Restitution is the first demonstration of the direction that they are giving to the country.
“The prosecution and police, amongst others, are busy with the criminal element, but we thought they must be a civil element. You don’t just arrest the person, and then you prosecute them, and then what happens to the assets?” he questioned.
Amupanda said the new dimension is going after the assets lost through illegal activities.
“We go after those assets wherever there are, and we bring them back to our country,” he said.
He further said that since the expose of the fishrot two years ago, the State has been focusing on criminal prosecutions.
“These trials will take several years to conclude. A mere bail application of the accused already takes more than three months to conclude. One is also not sure if the accused will be found guilty. The consequences of such an outcome are too ghastly to contemplate.”
The partnership will see, Amupanda as an applicant responsible for filing cases in various European jurisdictions for the benefit of the Namibian people.
“Other applicants will be companies such as Samherji that have engaged in tax envision,” he said.
Amupanda explained that the UK-based company would provide investigations, international lawyers, and others.
“In the filing, the lawyers are going to be available for us, and the investigators are also going to be made available.”
He stated that the movement’s head of legal Maitjituavi Kavetu and activist lawyer Kadhila Amoomo would be part of the international legal team compressed by Restitution.
“The legal team will establish Fishrot Claims and Namibian Claims, which will qualify and quantify the quantum of what is owed to the people of Namibia that must be returned,” he said.
Amupanda said they would engage the prosecutor general, attorney general, and the justice minister to hoop on board as applicants.
“If these engagements do not bear fruit, the government and these important offices will be cited as respondents in these litigation processes,” said Amupanda.
Moreover, he said they would also engage the government to work on a framework for using the money recovered.
“The recovered money will be used for industrialisation and creating jobs in Namibia and not used to plug holes of the bleeding government expenditure,” he said.
According to him, an assessment by economists working with the movement have found that between 2010 and 2020, Namibia lost about N$14 billion.
In this vein, Amupanda said that the money could be used to reboot Namibia’s economy.
The chief executive officer (CEO) of Restitution, Katherine Mulhern, said that additional support is needed at times.
“Such as helping local investigators trace stolen assets or strengthening work on anti-corruption,” said Mulhern.
Mulhern added that her institution is ready to provide the help needed to ensure that the money is returned to victims.