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The advantaged who got shares in Tunacor

 

By: Wonder Guchu

President Hage Geingob’s three daughters; former president Hifikepunye Pohamba’s wife and their three daughters; and Vice President Nangolo Mbumba’s wife are among the advantaged Namibians who were given shares in Tunacor by the former fisheries minister Bernard Esau when the company was handed over to Namibians in 2014.

Tunacor is also the company that bought from the State the controversial N$400m Fishrot vessel Heinaste for N$280m. Esau’s move to accommodate the already privileged cost between 500 and 700 jobs.

President Geingob’s children own shares through the Naaveyo Family Trust. The children are Nangula Geingos Dukes, Nangula A. Munashimue and Oshoveli G. Munashimwe.

Former President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s wife Penehupifo H. Pohamba and his children Ndelitungapo O. Shiluwa, Kaupumhote, Ndapandowala, and Kaleinasho N. Ndume own shares through the Shetweni Pamwe Trust.

Kaleinasho is married to Swapo Ndume, while Pohamba’s stepdaughter’s husband Antonio J.M. Campos is registered as the only Spaniard to benefit from Tunacor shares.

Vice President Nangolo Mbumba’s wife Sustjie Mbumba has shares under Tunacor Charitable Trust.

Eagle FM understands that Esau was tasked to include the people from advantaged families as part of empowerment.

For years and until now some children of the liberation struggle have been fighting and are still fighting for inclusion when natural resources are being shared.

The Tunacor takeover deal was announced in September 2014, a month after Frieda Ndatipo was shot dead while demonstrating at the Swapo headquarters in Windhoek.

Ndatipo was one of about 20 struggle kids who had been camped in Windhoek and demanding to be given jobs.

It has been more than two years since more than 5 000 ordinary Namibians applied for fishing quotas in 2018 but have not received anything yet Tunacor was one of the companies given a quota by Albert Kawana when he was the acting fisheries minister.

Background to Tunacor

Founded in 1958, Tunacor Group Ltd was first established as a Pilchard Cannery and Fishmeal facility.  The company has grown and transformed over time, initially under South African ownership and later under Spanish management, but it was finally in 2014 when Tunacor Fisheries Ltd became 100% Namibian owned.

Previously the ownership was 51 per cent Namibian while the remaining 49 per cent was owned by Pesca Puerta, a Spanish company that focused on investment and distribution.

The fishing factory currently employs over 2100 people and has a fishing fleet of 12 trawlers and 3 longliners.

Those who own Tunacor now are said to be rightsholders and investors.

Currently, Tunacor specialises on Hake, Monkfish, and horse mackerel. Tunacor started off as a pilchard canning factory.

NAMSOV BACKGROUND

Namsov Fishing (formerly a Namibia and Soviet Union joint venture) employed close to 1 200 people.

NAMSOV had been engaged in the horse mackerel fishing industry in Namibia since 1990 and was the large supplier of quality horse mackerel.

It was owned by Bidvest Namibia Fisheries (69,5%), Namsov Community Trust (10%), Henties Bay People Fishing Company (5,5%) and Prestige Fisheries Holding (4,9%). The other owners were Khomas Fishing and Packaging (4,9%) and Oshakati Fishing Company (4,9%).

TUNACOR TAKEOVER

A lot happened in the fishing sector in 2014 when former fisheries minister Bernard Esau started changing things.

Apart from amending the marine resources act, Esau also made it possible for already privileged Namibians to own shares in Tunacor.

In September 2014, the change of ownership was announced and the late chairman of Tunacor Fishing, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, said this was a significant event that gives Namibians the opportunity to take responsibility for their own natural resources.

Andimba: The willingness of our foreign partners to relinquish their shares to Namibia should be applauded. Now Namibians can harvest, preserve, and responsibly manage their own resources.

Sidney Martin, the director of Beluga Investment that owns 26 per cent of Tunacor said the takeover was long overdue. He said it was no secret that Namibia’s fishing industry was controlled by segments of the society who had access to the country’s natural resources although they were not Namibian.

Martin: This resulted in a lot of unscrupulous deals going through from which no Namibians benefitted. I must also point out that a lot of Namibians did not have the capacity or the capital input to change the situation around and assist those Namibians allocated quotas to act as trustees.  However, the situation has changed now. Namibians are taking ownership and we are definitely heading towards Vision 2030.  Namibianisation is one of the government’s goals towards achieving Vision 2030, but if we can already witness this milestone in 2014, we can surely reach Vision 2030.

 

Tunacor Shareholding

TUNACOR SHAREHOLDING STRUCTURE 

TUNACOR GROUP LIMITED

  1. Atab Fishing 15.00%
  2. Tunacor Charitable Trust 4.00%
  3. The Namibia Former Robin Island Political Prisoners Trust 6.00%
  4. Beluga Fishing (Pty) Ltd 25.92%
  5. Kaume Fishing (Pty) Ltd 18.08%
  6. Ozohi Fishing Company 10.00%
  7. Tumina Fishing (Pty) Ltd 10.00%
  8. Voorbok Fishing (Pty) Ltd 11.00%

 

The beneficiaries

The beneficiaries

Tunacor Charitable Trust

Peya Hitula

Kaleinasho Ndume (former president Hifikepunye’s daughter married to 

Selma-Penna Utonih

Martha Shikongo

Sustjie Mbumba (VP Nangolo Mbumba’s wife)

Namibia Former Robbin Island Prisoners Trust

Late Andimba Toivo ya Toivo

Helao Shityuwete

Marten Nengete Kapewasha

Lazarus Guiteb

Josef Ndeshipanda Kashea

Ben Ulenga

Petrus Nangolo Iilonga

Sakaria Nashandi

Jerry Ekandjo

David Shikomba

Jacob Handiya Nghidinwa

Marius Melchoir

Willem Biwa

Naboth Sino Iimene

Risto Tulipohamba Nakanyala

Mweshilengwa Frans Nakale

Heikki Shililifa

Sakaria Ihuhwa Willbard

David Hamunime Shimweefeleni

Justus Festus Heita

Betuel Lyam,shama Nuunyango

Abel Shuudeni Haluteni

John Samuel Shiponeni

Malakia Uushona Shivute

Lazarus Shakala

Aida Jimmy H-Eiros

Rauna T. Nambinga

Etale Holdings

Naaveyo Family Trust

Shetweni Pamwe Trust

Kefuta Group Holdings Pty Ltd

Naaveyo Family Trust

Nangula Geingos Dukes

Nangula A. Munashimue

Oshoveli G. Munashimwe

Shetweni Pamwe Trust/ Pohamba Family

Ndelitungapo O. Shiluwa

Kaupumhote T.L. Pohamba

Ndapandowala P.T. Pohamba

Kaleinasho N. Ndume

Penehupifo H. Pohamba

 

Kefuta Group Holdings

Omotuli Descendants Trust

Peya Hitula

Sima Fishing Pty Ltd

 

Omotuli Descendants Trust

Ndelitungapo O. Shiluwa

Nixon N. Marcus

Antonio J.M. Campos (The only Spaniard Pohamba’s son-in-law)

 

Sima Fishing Pty Ltd

  1. O. Shiluwa Trust

Natural person

RIGHTSHOLDERS

Beluga Fishing Pty Ltd

Diaz Fishing Company Pty Ltd Company

Empire Fishing Pty Ltd

Huab Fishing Pty Ltd

Morcar Fishing Pty Ltd

Ombaye Fishing Pty Ltd

Beluga Investments Pty Ltd

Diaz Fishing Company Pty Ltd

Allcom Industries (Pty) Ltd

  1. Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd

Diaz Fishing Company Pty Ltd

Allcom Industries (Pty) Ltd

Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd

Diaz Holdings (Pty) Ltd

S. Nghindinwa

Allcom Industries (Pty) Ltd

Investment Holdings

Investment Holdings

Silver Holding (Pty) Ltd

Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd

Sidney Martin Family Trust

Natural persons?

Diaz Holdings (Pty) Ltd

I.R Martin Namibian

Empire Fishing Pty Ltd

Diaz Holdings (Pty) Ltd

I.R Martin

Diaz Holdings (Pty) Ltd

I.R Martin

Empire Fishing Pty Ltd

J.S. Taapopi

M. Lukas

A. Vaino

Novanam Holdings

A Martin

L Shikongo

P Kiiyala

Novanam Holdings

Opuwo Fishing (Pty) Ltd

Elim Fishing (Pty) Ltd

Opuwo Fishing (Pty) Ltd

Elim Fishing (Pty) Ltd

Opuwo Fishing (Pty) Ltd

Elim Fishing (Pty) Ltd

Huab Fishing Pty Ltd

Strategic Human Resource Solutions

T Haimbili

J Haimbili

Desgon Enterprises CC

T Gonteb

P Afrikaner

P Gonteb

P Gonteb

Ceret investments CC – Nongovernmental organization

Morcar Fishing Pty Ltd

Selcar Fishing (Pty) Ltd

G Shinavene

Evula W

G Naruseb

H Tjirare

N Karuaera

B Boys

H Mboti

L Shinavene

R Hangula

M Meyer

J Katzao

I Gowaseb

L Stephanus

A Karuaera

R Tjirare

Moria Fishing (Pty) Ltd

G Mungunda

P Beukes

E Kameeta

P Links

K Hanse Himarwa

P Nghiwilepo

Z Kameeta

Moria Trust

Ombaye Fishing (Pty) Ltd

Hannu Aupindi

Libolly Haufiku

Faustinia Aupindi

Lemmy K. Haufiku

Barbara Gowases

Enny Namalambo

Sirkka Ausiku

Lukas Uutoni

Julia Jeremiah

Peter K. Ndaitwa

Tsumkwe Community Trust

Namibia Federation for Visually Impaired Trust Namibian

Beluga Investments

M Investments

The Sidney Martin Family Trust

Sima Fishing

N O Shiluwa Trust

Indico Invest Investments (pty) Ltd

F Squared investments Holdings

M Investments Holdings (Pty) Ltd

Michael Goagoseb

F Squared investments Holdings

Nadiema Izolda Eberenz

 

Kaume Fishing (Pty) Ltd

  1. a) Compass Investment (Pty) Ltd
  2. i) Didago Trading and Investment (Pty) Ltd

Tobias Pinehas

Gideon Garoeb

Willem Ashipembe

Brian Mbuzuvara

Cedric Shilongo

Immanuel Wilfred

Regina Soabes (Madawa Women’s Group)

Veronica Awases

Engelhardt Unaeb

Wilhelmina Garises

Estate Johanna Ouses

Estate Cornelia Angolo

Rudolf Dauasab

Zedekia Tsamaseb (Sorris-Sorris Community foundation)

  1. ii) Epathomar Trading Enterprises CC Pty) Ltd

Manwandi Epaphras Shilombuelua

Thomas Shuuya

Martin Kambala Nashandi

Charlotte Kandali Mpingana

Onesmus Shapopi sha Nangolo

Suama Himushinawa Shivolo

Helvi Nanghelo Mengela

 

iii) Itumeleng Investment (Pty)

Selma Kapeng

Salomon Gamatham

Christoph Shipanga

Magnime Hangula

Hosiana Kautondokua

Nelson Lucas

Alwine Awases Namibian

 

  1. iv) Katuka Fishing Co. (Pty) Ltd

Baron Investments (Pty)

Martha Klisian

Wilhencia Uiras

George Ngeesheya

Vaino Hipondoka

Omotuli Shiluuwa Marino

P Hitula

Onyx Investment (Pty) Ltd

Pauly Hamukwaya

Oscar Norish (estate late)

Emma Joodt (estate late)

Antonia Kamuhake

Maria Nghipangelwa

Joseph Mbangula

Nelson Dins

Nathanael Haindongo

Victoria Mumbala

Saima Paulus

Michelle Mclean Childrens Trust

Oukwanyama Traditional Authority

Oewona Welfare organization

  1. v) Otavi Investments

Hai /Om Traditional Authority

R U Tjaverua

N Uxamb

Johannes

Charline Katjikonde

 

Ozohi Fishing Company

A.K. Muharukua

L.N. Fritz

T.Z. Hijarunguru

H Tjipe

Estate Late U.F.G. Muharukua

K.R.M. Kavekotora

L.Kazombaruru

V Tom

M Ndjai

J Kavari Namibia

J Uaroua

P Mbendura

B Tjivambi

Tumina Fishing (Pty) Ltd

Shareholders or right holder 1: Tukondjeni Fishing Group

Centrefold Investment

Olavi Hamutumwa

Joseph Namweya

Daniel Nghiwilepo

Mukwamalanga Tukondjeni Community

Benefits 2000+ community members

Shareholder or right holder

2: Uibagu CC

L Katuanene

J Gaoseb

E Neels

G Baisako

P Neels

A Brinkman

S.Nowases

J Swartbooi

S Stephen

Shareholder or right holder 3: Nambombola Investment

MT Amukwa

T Shaanika

T Aupindi

T Iithete

S.Shivute (NOT LINKED SAM SHIVUTE THE NAMRA BOSS)

M Rickets

I Aipanda

Sam Nujoma Foundation

Benefits 5000+Young Namibians

Shareholder or right holder 4: Maruka Investments

R Amaambo

M Amkongo

E Amukugo

Shareholder or right holder 5: Ikon & Kings CC

G Wimmerth

G Koning

W Koning

Voorbok Fishing (Pty) Ltd owned 100% by

Shareholders of Beluga Investments Beluga Investments

M Investments

The Sidney Martin Family Trust

Sima Fishing

N O Shiluwa Trust

Indico Invest Investments (pty) Ltd

F Squared investments Hodlings

M Investments Holdings (Pty) Ltd

Michael Goagoseb

F Squared investments Hodlings

Nadiema Izolda Eberenz

 

Atab Fishing

Atlan Fishing (Pty) Ltd

Mr. P. Asino

Mr. G. Mutilifa

Ms. W. Naobes

Ms. L. Blaauw

Ms. J. Haimbili

Hon. B. Aathila

Tulongeni Fishing (Pty) Ltd

Mr. D. Imbili

Mr. T. H. Mbako

Mr. P Nevonga

Mr. Dragnam

HURDLE

There was hurdle though – Tunacor dealt with pilchard while Namsov had the horse mackerel deal.

This is where Esau had to come in and make sure that Namsov had to die in order to empower Tunacor.

Namsov’s fortunes started to decline after they started questioning Esau’s modus operandi.

Esau and Shanghala have in the past claimed that Bidvest was bitter because of a decision to amend the Marine Resources Act of 2000 to accommodate newcomers into the fishing industry would reduce the company’s dominance in the fishing sector.

Although Tunacor was not any newcomer in the fishing sector, it was however getting into the horse mackerel sub-sector.

So, it happened that in 2014, Namsov applied for an allocation of a quota of 100 000 tons, but received a quota of 31 469 tons, while another company Atlantic Harvesters was allocated a quota of 5 911 tons.

Namsov received an additional quota of 1 259 tons, while Atlantic Harvesters received 236 tons.

In another round, the minister allocated quotas from the last remaining portion of the TAC, in which a reserve of 10 096 tons was left at that stage. Namsov again received the biggest portion from that part of the TAC. The company was awarded a quota of 5 908 tons – bringing its total quota for the year to 38 636 tons. Atlantic Harvesters received an additional quota of 1 110 tons. That brought its total quota for the year to 7 257 tons.

There were, however, some companies that were not supposed to receive horse mackerel quotas but were given. These were Fishcor that was allocated 10 000 tons, the Small Pelagic Association awarded a quota of 8 000 tons, the Namibian Large Pelagic & Hake Longlining Association, which received a quota of 1 000 tons, and the Namibia Fish Consumption Promotion Trust, which received 2 000 tons from the reserved quota.

There was a fallout between Shanghala and Esau on one hand and Namsov and other fishing companies on the other.

Shanghala was accused of threatening to starve Namsov of fishing quotas but admitted that he told Esau not to make promises to Namsov.

Shanghala: I explained that the minister could not commit to giving quotas to Namsov. Should he utter any such commitment, he risks it being presented in court papers.

Namsov went to court.

 

Namsov in court

Namsov, a subsidiary of the publicly-traded company Bidvest Namibia, was asking the court to order fisheries minister Bernhard Esau to implement an alleged decision – denied by Esau – to award an additional quota of 13 337 metric tons of horse mackerel to Namsov for the 2014 fishing season. Atlantic Harvesters was claiming that the minister had awarded it an additional quota of 2 555 metric tons in July. Esau denied that, too.

This urgent application was prompted by the laying off of 120 workers from Trachurus Fishing, a subsidiary of Namsov Fishing Enterprises which is the operating company of Bidfish owned by Bidvest Namibia. The workers were laid off after the company’s quota was cut.

Namsov and Atlantic Harvesters had asked the court to not only review and set aside horse mackerel quotas allocated to some of their competitors and to declare that those allocations were contrary to the Marine Resources Act or the Constitution, but also to order Esau to immediately implement an alleged decision to award bigger quotas to the two companies.

Judge Shafimana Ueitele ruled that the allocation of horse mackerel quotas to the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia and two fishing associations was unlawful and irregular.

Lawyer Sisa Namandje argued the case on behalf of the minister and government.

Senior counsel Reinhard Tötemeyer, who represented Namsov and Atlantic Harvesters, argued that the fisheries minister acted illegally by awarding horse mackerel quotas to entities that do not have fishing rights for that species of fish. He argued that in terms of the Marine Resources Act a fishing right is a prerequisite before a fishing quota can be awarded to someone.

Esau said the court action by Namsov, and others were political.

Esau said: Since the recently concluded Swapo electoral college, and the fact that I am 7th on the list, there have been attacks on my integrity.

I want them to stop this campaign they are running.  Why don’t they openly say so if they want to campaign and distribute leaflets for the DTA?

The issue of horse-mackerel is that it has a different value in the sea when landed as well as when processed in our land-based factories.

We want the landing process here and then the canning to be done here.  We do not want to export our fish in its raw form, we want to process, packing and canning to be done in the country to add value.

Some did not deliver on my request and I released my quota allocation based on what was done by the industry and based on those who responded to my request and created new jobs.

In fact, I was briefed by a few companies catching and processing horse-mackerel that 1 000 new jobs were created.  This is now by the companies who delivered on the ministry and government’s request to create new jobs and add value to our raw products.

 

Esau amends the Marine Resources Act

The amendments to the marine resources act of 2000 were passed in September 2015.

The Act now gives the minister the power to identify entities diligently contributing to governmental objectives, policies, and strategies, so that such entities may be allocated more quotas aimed at cementing initiatives that positively contribute to governmental objectives.

At the time, Esau came under fire for giving himself too much power to decide who gets and who does not get quotas.

At the time of the debate on the amendments in the National Council, Esau was criticised and accused by some fishing companies and members of the public of proposing to amend the Act without consulting them.

Esau, however, denied having such intentions, saying the new law merely empowers the minister to perform his duties effectively.

PLEADING TO GEINGOB

Namsov wrote to Geingob on 21 August 2014, the company set out several concerns regarding fishing quotas.

They complained that the 5 908 metric tonnes (mt) Esau allocated to Namsov “is less than what we agreed was available and would be allocated to Namsov”.

Namsov: Due to the quota shortfall of 24 000 mt, two vessels partly owned and operated by Namsov Fishing Enterprises (NFE) are laid up at anchorage, and their crew (including 120 sea-going Namibian employees) are without work, earning less than 25% of their normal remuneration. Without expensive quota purchases, another 180 Namibian crew members would have been in a similar situation.

They asked that Geingob and the fisheries minister help them save these jobs.

The letter again: Instruct the beneficiaries of the Angolan allocation of the 7 000mt [fish donation] to make this available to Namsov.

With no guarantee that such quota procurement will be available next year, we may well end up in an even worse situation during 2015.

We remain heavily dependent on outside contracted and purchased quotas, and the availability of quotas.

 

2015 Apologies

As the AG Sacky Shanghala in 2016 asked fishing giant Namsov to publicly apologize to him and Esau for intentionally discrediting them in public.

Namsov had started asking after the fishing company started questioning the way the minister was allocating fishing quotas to companies. In fact, allegations are that Esau was secretly dishing out fishing quotas to his cronies in the name of local empowerment.

Bidvest’s managing director Jan Arnold apologized on behalf of the company during a boardroom meeting, but Shanghala still insisted that they should do so publicly like they did when the embarrassed them.

Shanghala: We all know that their campaign to discredit the minister (Esau) and government as custodian of the natural resources was done in public. Therefore, I recommended to them (Namsov) that if their apology is genuine, they should do it the same way they started their fight, (publicly).

He (Arnold) apologized on his own behalf and that of Namsov for the acrimony and requested that it be left in the past.

It must be pointed out here that President Hage Geingob also asked Esau to apologise for his comment about the late fisheries minister Abraham Iyambo whom he accused of favouring Namsov to maintain their grip on the industry.

Geingob: Comrade Esau, I have learnt about the nasty newspaper article. I want you to apologize for what you said. Sometimes journalists misquote us, but if you know you have said it, you must apologize.

Esau: I would like to take this opportunity to say sorry for what I said in the newspaper.

 Namsov sinks

As a result, Namsov would steadily slip further and further into decline over the next few years, with an insufficient quota to maintain its fleet and employees. Trading profit from the firm’s fishing division in March 2015 was reported to be down by 23% to N$130.8 million ($11.1m), a figure which fell by 47.6% to N$66.9m by May 2016, and a further 82% to N$21.7m by February 2017.

By December 2017, Bidvest Namibia registered poor financial performances of up to 67.9% lower since the reduction in fishing quotas.

Namsov even tried to buy the fishing quota which Esau gave to Angola to save jobs.

What Namsov did not realize, according to the Fishrot files, was that the Angolan quota was instead given to the joint venture Namgomar Pesca.

When this failed, the biggest shareholder Bidvest Fishing Namibia decided to sell but to do so they had to acquire all shares held by Namsov Community Trust (10%), Henties Bay People Fishing Company (5,5%), Prestige Fisheries Holding (4,9%), Khomas Fishing and Packaging (4,9%) and Oshakati Fishing Company (4,9%).

With a cut quota, Bidvest had no choice but to sell off Bidfish that held Namsov, and other companies such as Namsea, Trachurus Fishing, Twafika, Telelestai and Pesca Fresca in 2018 – four years after trying to even buy the quota meant for Angola. And guess who came by their door with an offer – Tunacor!

Boardroom war at Namsov

The Namsov assets were valued at N$530m in 2017 but were valued at N$450m by 2018 when Tunacor was making moves to acquire the assets.

The need to acquire all the assets was because Namsov assets were not included in the Tunacor deal, and Bidvest Namibia Fishing had to have complete control first.

Bidvest’s asset valuation included the pilchard vessel MFV Deolinda worth N$25 million, United Fishing Enterprise properties (N$229 million) and Namsov Industrial Property (N$17 million).

The minority shareholder represented by Harold Schmidt (Prestige Fisheries), Foibe Namene (Khomas Fishing and Packaging), Angelina Sinvula (Namsov Trust), Alfred Herzberg (Oshakati Fishing Company) and Jacobus van Graan (Henties Bay People Fishing) said they had been arm-twisted to sell off to Tunacor.

Favours – quotas in exchange for jobs

Ever since the government has been trading off quotas with Tunacor for jobs.

In February 2020, the then acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana allocated N$2,5 billion fishing quotas, which the media said was illegally given to 50 companies among then Tunacor through Namsov.

The quotas were worth N$2,5b.

It turns out that 50 of around 100 individuals and entities whose rights were extended and were allocated quotas this year were not supposed to have their rights extended because they passed the 20-year empowerment mark.

Kawana – who extended the rights via a government notice on 27 January 2020 – is now accused of breaking the law and hand-picking companies to benefit from fishing quotas.

The acting fisheries minister said he renewed the rights using section 33(6) of the Marine Resources Act, which guides the government on who qualifies for fishing rights, and by extension for fishing quotas.

The section states that the minister can give a fishing right to a company if it “at any time before the expiry of a right, met the prescribed criteria that would have permitted a longer-term at the time of granting the right”.

The Namibian understands that the fishing quotas for these 50 companies represent 25% of all quotas valued at N$10 billion every year.

Kawana: My decision was motivated by employment and the Namibian economy. Cabinet granted me the authority to ensure that no job losses or operations should be halted until the situation is hopefully normalised by 1 April 2020.

Kawana insisted that his decision to renew the fishing rights was before the beginning of the fishing season for major species such as hake and horse mackerel.

Kawana: I found a situation where a number of fishing companies had expired fishing rights, some of them as far back as 2017.

The minister said a decision had to be taken whether to halt the operations of the affected companies with the inevitable consequences of retrenchments of thousands of workers or to find a short-term solution pending the determination of expired fishing rights together with new applications.

According to the government notice, companies that received fishing rights renewals from Kawana for horse mackerel include Arechanab Fishing and Development Company (Pty) Ltd, Atlantic Harvesters of Namibia (Pty) Ltd, Atlantic Sea Products (Pty) Ltd, Cerocic Fishing (Pty) Ltd, Diaz Fishing Company (Pty), Emeritus Fishing (Pty) Ltd, Erongo Seafoods (Pty) Ltd and Gendev Fishing Resources (Pty).

The other companies are Kuiseb Fishing Enterprises (Pty), Mediva Fisheries (Pty) Ltd, Namsov Fishing Enterprises (Pty) Ltd (owned by Tunacor Fishing), Namibia Seaweed Processing (Pty), Ongwe Fishing (Pty) Ltd.

The quotas given to Tunacor were said to have been meant to serve jobs.

In September last year, Tunacor offered employment to 180 fishermen who were retrenched by Namsov in 2015.

Daniel Imbili, the president of the Namibia Fishing Industries and Fishermen Workers Union, told the media at the time that the seamen had already resumed duty at Tunacor, as the fisheries ministry already allocated an additional quota, specifically for their employment to Tunacor.

According to Imbili, they were relieved that the workers had started work after being affected by fishrot scandal.

Imbili said: These workers have been without jobs for years. Some even retired, some died and some even took up other jobs and ventured into other business opportunities.

The first group considered for employment was the Namsov employees. The second group consists of about 1 000 fishermen who lost their jobs after partaking in an illegal strike. The third group is the casuals who were working on vessels. We will have to see how they can be absorbed as well.

In December 2020, Tunacor landed 4 000mt quota after formalising an agreement in which it will spend at least N$1.6 million a month for the next four months to pay monthly salaries to over 600 former employees of Seaflower Pelagic Processing (SPP) in exchange for a 4 000-metric ton quota from the state-owned National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor).

Tunacor accepted to take in the workers even though they do not have vacancies. SPP let the workers go after they failed to get a quota which they claimed was part of an agreement with Fishcor.

The former SPP employees receive N$2 500 each month until the end of March this year.

Interim board deputy chairperson Milka Mungunda said Tunacor was not being favoured but that the plight of the workers was worrisome hence the Fishcor board met with the various line ministries involved and made recommendations to see how the workers could be absorbed in the industry again.

Mungunda said: We did not favour Tunacor at all. We had various discussions with some fishing companies, however, the offer we got from Tunacor was the most lucrative one and it made sense to sign a protocol agreement with them for the benefit of the employees.

Tunacor CEO Peya Hitula said they are facing a huge task as taking in the former SPP employees was not part of their plan.

Hitula said: You must remember 655 employees is a lot of employees and at the moment they are being integrated into our system. We do not have an open factory or an empty one to accommodate them. However, we have one onshore processing facility that is going to be operational soon that can accommodate at least 200 people.

We will try and absorb as many employees as we can through other initiatives as well. As for now, the employees will receive salaries irrespective of the fact that they are currently at home.

 

The Heinaste

In December 2019, NAMIBIAN authorities impounded the fishing vessel linked to the controversial Icelandic fishing company Samherji after it was caught fishing in a restricted zone area near Walvis Bay.

The Samherji vessel was first impounded last November by the Namibian authorities, and its captain was arrested for fishing in a protected zone.

The vessel was released on 5 February after the captain pleaded guilty to three charges of fishing in waters less than 200 metres deep and paid a fine of N$950 000.

The captain of the vessel was arrested, appeared before the court, and was granted bail of N$100 000. Police investigations are ongoing.

It was seized again on 7 February on the basis of Article 28 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The vessel was 100% financed by the Icelanders, but Namibians bought 45% of the vessel to the tune of N$140 million, of which only N$5 million was outstanding when the vessel was Namibian-flagged last year at Walvis Bay.

In December, the Prosecutor Martha Imalwa sold the N$400m vessel to Tunacor for N$280m.

Imalwa deposed an affidavit in court accusing the Samherji of making N$547 million from “corrupt” Fishrot deals in Namibia.

Imalwa was motivating her intentions to attach Samherji properties in Namibia of which the Heinaste was the only valuable asset in the State’s hands.

There are questions being asked why Imalwa allowed Samherji – a company accused of paying bribes involving as much as N$2 billion – to sell the vessel for N$280m.

Imalwa wrote a letter to Samherji’s lawyer, Joos Agenbach saying her office was releasing the vessel.

Imalwa said: This is the upliftment of attachment of the MFV Heinaste in accordance with clause 6,2 of the memorandum of agreement entered between Heinaste Investments (as seller), Tunacor Fisheries (as buyer), the government, Esja Investments (as mortgage bond holder) and Tunacor group (as guarantor) on 30 September 2020.

I hereby confirm that the buyer has complied with its payment obligations of the memorandum of understanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wonder Guchu

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