By: Justicia Shipena
Fishrot accused Tamson Hatuikulipi wants to be released on Bail to gather documentation to prove loan payments between him and his co-accused and fishrot ‘mastermind’ James Hatuikulipi.
Hatukilipi said this in his second bail application on Friday in the Windhoek High Court, adding that he received payments from companies owned by James and these payments were loans.
Tamson told the court he would explain more about the loans in detail when the matter goes to trial.
“I am here to be released on Bail so that I can get all the documents and prove during my trial all the loans and repayments of loans and loans I have made to James to assist him. So during the trial, once I have everything in order and get auditors that will do all my things, I will explain every transaction, whether this was for a loan or money refunded,” Tamson explains.
The state alleges that Tamson and his entities received payments from Silex Investment or De Klerk, Horn and Coetzee (DHC). The two entities are linked to lawyer Maren de Klerk.
Tamson confirmed during his testimony confirmed getting payments from Silex and DHC. However, it was his impression that the two entities belonged to James, and it was what he (James) was paying back his loans.
According to him, there have been loan transactions between him and James often.
When acting judge David Munsu asked whether Silex and DHC belonged to James, Tamson said he did not find it strange when this money was paid from Silex and thought James owned the entities.
“James is having a lot of companies with weird names. He is even having a company with the name erf 190 Kuisebmond, you might think it is a residential area, but it is a company. So I thought he was the owner of those companies,” he testified.
I AM JUST A BUSINESSMAN – TAMSON
It was further his testimony that he made most of his profit through his fish shops that operated in different towns of the country. When questioned about how one opens a fish shop, Tamson holds his horses and prefers not to spill his ‘secret’.
“I cannot give my secret away, my lord, at least now that people know. You will see a lot of fish shops being opened, my lord.”
During the bail application, Tamson pleaded not guilty and said he was just a businessman. He further denied he was part of a scheme to amend the marine resource act, adding that he was never involved in negotiations with former fisheries minister Bernard Esau on the amendment.
The state also alleges that the fishrot accused had amended the act to benefit from objective government fishing quotas.
“No, my lord, I was not part of such a scheme. I don’t know when the marine resources act was amended. I don’t know what a governmental objective fishing quota is. I’m a businessman and not a government employee, so there is no way I can get involved in such discussions. I was not in the meeting to influence the government’s decision, My lord,” he said.
Tamson was arrested in November 2019 and has been in custody since. He tried for Bail once with his father-in-law Esau, and they were denied Bail in July 2020 by Magistrate Erich Kesslau.
The two then appealed their bail refusal, which was dismissed after Acting High Court Judges Herman January and Marlene Tommasi concluded that the lower court did not misdirect itself.
In this bail application after ditching Esau, Tamson is represented by Metcalfe Beukes, from the Metcalfe Beukes Attorney and Florian Beukes.
Emotional, Tamson, on the verge of tears in the witness dock, told the court that he could not provide support to his two minor children for the past 30 months that he has been in jail.
He further testified all his properties had been subjected to a provision restrain order brought by the prosecutor general while stating that his detention had caused damage to intangible assets.
“My reputation is one intangible damage—the separation from my two minor children. For the past 30 months, I have not been giving fatherly love to my two minor children and during many moments that come once in the child’s growth, I have missed my lord. It is very depressing, my lord. Worse, I am unable to perform my duties as a husband, my lord.”
The businessman further indicated that him being incarcerated will have a severe effect on his family, including his mother, who is 77 years old. He concluded his testimony in the evidence in chief by submitting to the court that he is willing to pay Bail of N$200 000, adding that denying him Bail would violate his fundamental rights.
Tamson and his other co-accused, who were also denied Bail earlier this year, were all arrested in 2019 on corruption, fraud and tax evasion allegations.
His co-accused are Sacky Shanghala, Bernhard Esau, Mike Nghipunya, James Hatuikulipi, Phillipus Mwapopi, Otneel Shuudifonya, Pius Mwatelulo and Ricardo Gustavo. Gustavo was free on Bail of N$8 000 last December by High Court judge Herman Oosthuizen.
The matter will resume on 23 August to continue this bail application.