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By: Justicia Shipena 

Former justice minister and fishrot accused Sacky Shanghala sought out his co-accused James Hatuikulipi for a job offer at Fishcor. 

This was revealed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lead investigator Andreas Kanyangela during the bail hearing for the six main Fishrot accused in the Windhoek High Court on Thursday. 

According to Kanyangela, an email dated 28 July 2013 indicated how at the time when Shanghala was the chairperson of the law reform commission suggested that the former fisheries minister Bernard Esau appoint his friend Hatuikulipi as chairman of the Fishcor board of directors.

This information was retrieved from Shanghala’s cellphone, Kanyangela said.

 “Comrade minister, I think the right candidate for the Fishcor chairmanship is James Hatuikulipi. He is a finance person and a businessman. He can serve his country and control Anna Erastus as chairperson,” the message reads. 

Kanyangela further brought to court a letter from the fisheries ministry dated 7 May 2014, which was directed to Hatuikulipi. 

“Dear Mr Hatuikulipi, appointment as chairperson of the board of directors, National Fishing Operation of Namibia (Fishcor). I am pleased to inform you that I have appointed you as chairperson of the board of directors of the National Fishing Operation of Namibia in accordance with the Fishcor act 28 of 1991,” the letter read. 

He told the court that the letter indicated a period of appointment. 

“Your appointment is valid for a period of three years commencing 1 May 2014 to 30 April 2017.” 

Kanyangela said Esau showed confidence in Hatuikulipi’s abilities in the letter. 

“That will make valuable and tangible contributions to Fishcor. Let me take this opportunity to thank you and wish you all the best during your time as chairman, and I would appreciate receiving your acceptance letter by 12 May 2014. Thanking you in advance for your support. Yours sincerely, Benhard Esau, MP- Minister,” said the letter. 

However, Kanyangela told the court that upon investigations, the appointment of Hatuikulipi and his co-accused and former chief executive officer of Fishcor were done against the Fishcor act. 

He added that the board chairperson is appointed according to section six subsection four of the Act that provides that the chairperson has to be appointed by the directors of the fishcor board. 

According to him, the accused started by appointing each other in a high positions to gain access to the quotas. 

Kanyangela said the Icelandic company Samherjii made N$600 000 payment to Cambadara Trust, an entity owned by James Hatuikulipi. 

“The money was then further distributed from Cambadara to Erongo Clearing (N$150 000) also owned by Tamson, Ricardo Gustavo (N$50 000), James Hatuikulipi (N$380 000),” he said. 

He added that the N$150 000 paid to Erongo Clearing was then paid to former fisheries minister Benhard Esau via a Standard Bank cheque. 

This transaction was made between 4 December 2012 and 21 December 2012. 

“I don’t think they can find outside payments. We have closed those accounts. Also, they can’t go after complex transactions offshore,” an email read out in court sent to Jón Óttar Ólaffson from the Samherji group of companies via an iPhone.

Upon his testimony in the Windhoek High Court, the ACC investigator said Esau drafted and signed a document requesting the national fishing act amendment to the cabinet. 

“This document was obtained from the ministry of fisheries during our investigations and the subject: request in permission in principle to the introduction of the manes of the national fishing act of 1991,” he said. 

Furthermore, Esau indicated to the cabinet that the ministry views it necessary that there is a need to amend the Law.

He added that there is evidence that there is no information that the cabinet committee has sited and approved the government objective fishing quotas to the ministry for non-rights holders. 

“In a letter on 11 November 2015 says minister Esau approved the allocation of fishing quotas to Fishcor,” he said. 

Kanyangela will continue testifying in the Windhoek High Court tomorrow at 10h00.

Justicia Shipena

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