175 witnesses for Fishrot trial

Andrew Kathindi

Namibia should brace itself for a lengthy and protracted Fishrot trial after an extensive list of nearly 200 witnesses have been lined up to testify.

In the leaked Nangomar Pesca docket in possession of the Windhoek Observer, former Fisheries and Marine resources Minister, current Home Affairs Minister, Albert Kawana, and Justice Minister, Yvonne Dausab , are among those to be summoned to the witness stand. Other witnesses to appear in court are, Government institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) Chief executive Officer (CEO), David Nuyoma , Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) CEO, Vivienne Katjiuongua, and Secretary to Cabinet, George Simataa.

Fishrot whistle-blower, Johaness Stefansson, earlier this year offered himself as a state witness when the trial begins, is also a witness. Businessperson, Vaino Nghipondoka, and Armas Amukwiyu, who had previously been alleged to have also benefitted from the Fishcor funds will also be summoned as part of the 175 witnesses who will give account.

The Negomar Pesca case is one of two cases in which former Fisheries Minister, Bernard Esau, former Justice Minister,Sacky Shangala, former Fishcor Charperson, James Hatuikulipi, former Fishcor CEO, Mike Nghipunya, Tamson Hatuikulip, Pius Mwatelulo, Otneel Shuudifonya, Philipus Mwapopi, along with 17 others, including entities they are affiliated to, are accused of funnelling millions of state funds for personal gain. The other case is the Fishcor case, which State Prosecutor, Ed Marondedze, had earlier in the pre-trial hearing at the High Court indicated his intention to attach it to the Nengomar Pesca case in a joinder application.

Judge Christie Liebenberg last month set down 12 July for the hearing of the joinder application. While lawyer Richard Metcalfe, who represents Esau and his son in law, Tamson Hatuikulipi, had indicated that he has no intention of opposing the joinder, Shanghala, James Hatuikulipi and Pius Mwatelulo’s legal defence representative, James Diedericks informed the court that he would need time to study the docket which had over 100 pages, and which then, had only recently been disclosed to him by the stated, before he decides to oppose the joinder or not.

Liebenberg informed Diedericks that a decision must be made before 25 June.Lawyer Meren De Klerk’s is, however, missing on the witness list amid media reports that an extradition request had already been sent to South Africa ahead of the trial, dashing his plans to evade prosecution for his role in the Fishrot corruption scandal by offering himself as a State Witness.

De Klerk, who has been in South Africa since early last year, has previously stated that he would be willing to testify in court during the trial as a state witness and wanted indemnity from prosecution.

De Klerk is accused of using his law firm to funnel over N$70 million in fishing quota fees at the behest of fellow co-accused, and former client and former Justice minister, Sacky Shanghala.

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