AR takes on Iceland’s Samherji … Says lawsuits will bring back Namibia’s stolen money

Eba Kandovazu

AFFIRMATIVE Repositioning (AR) say they have signed a three-year agreement with a UK Based organisation, Restitution, to file lawsuits in a bid for international companies to return stolen monies pertaining to the Fishrot.

Job Amupanda says Restitution has offered to support AR by offering international lawyers, international legal professors and investigators to locate the assets of companies that benefitted through illicit financial transfers and bribery. Amupanda says although criminal charges have been instituted, no civil action has been taken against anyone to have the stolen monies returned. According to him, preparations to engage Justice Minister, Yvonne Dausab, Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa and Attorney General Festus Mbandeka are underway.

Amupanda, who will be an applicant, speaking at a press conference today adds that Government will be asked to join the application as applicants, adding that if it declines, they would be listed as respondents in the matter. Amupanda says legal action would be taken in Iceland and other international jurisdictions. According to him, Namibia has lost N$14 billion to a specific international company alone, through illicit financial transfers, adding that tax evasion played a role.

Amupanda notes that Government would not be required to spend money on the application as lawyers have already been granted. AR lawyers, Kadhila Amoomo and Maitjituavi Kavetu, would be joining international lawyers.

“When those funds are recovered, we intend for the money to be used in securing jobs and industrialisation. Let us help the Government. It is them that are supposed to be doing it but if we don’t stand up no one else will. If the assets are in London, we will file and litigate in London. If they are in Iceland, we will litigate there. This is the strategy we will take,”Amupanda says.

Kavetu, who heads the legal department at AR on his part says international lawyers will deal with jurisdiction matters, amongst others. The first lawsuit, he says, will be against Samherji, Iceland’s biggest fishing company at the centre of Fishrot. It will be lodged next year, he revealS. He adds they would review evidence collected by the PG and local investigators.

“We have seen that usually what happens in criminal litigation is that people get fines or a few assets are forfeited to the State but their internationally partners walk free and there is no accountability,” Kavetu says.

Suspects in Fishrot include former Fisheries and Marine resources Minister, Bernard Esau, former Justice Minister, Sakeus Shanghala, businessmen James Hatuikulipi, Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Pius Mwatelula.

“Restitution is a highly experienced company. We are told we need not worry about government’s involvement in the lawsuits,” Kavetu says.

A joint statement between Restitution CEO, Catherine Malhen, and AR movement indicates that the company works with claimants to ensure that a vast majority of assets is returned to partners.

“We are aware and have been made aware that the culprit multinational companies we are going after will employ several tactics that may include discrediting and even assassinating Activist in Chief (AIC). We, however, believe that the God of our people will keep the AIC safe so that he can wage and bring this struggle for the benefit of the people of Namibia to its logical conclusion,”Amupanda says.

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