Staff Writer

Former Fisheries minister, Bernhardt Esau who is currently incarcerated over his involvement in the Fishrot scandal, has had 50 head of cattle which were being kept on his behalf at Farm Sorondo in the Omaheke region, stolen.

According to sources, Esau entered into an agreement with former Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) Credit Manager, Masilo Hochobeb to keep 300 head of cattle at his farm.

“I have not been at the farm in four weeks, I will have to check with the workers,” said Hochobeb when contacted for comment.

When quizzed over the agreement he entered into with the former minister, Hochobeb professed ignorance over the existence of such an agreement and having Esau’s cattle at his farm.

“I don’t know anything about that,” he said.

Regional Crime Investigation Coordinator for Omaheke Region, Deputy Commissioner Chris Kalimbula, however, confirmed a case involving stolen cattle belonging to the former minister had been opened at TransKalahari police station.

“I can confirm that case was opened at our TransKalahari police station and we have managed to recover 19 head of cattle and a suspect has been arrested and appeared in court today, in Gobabis,” he said.

He said the police were still carrying out investigations to recover the remaining 30 head of cattle.

“Yes, the cattle were being kept at farm Sorondo owned by Mr Hochobeb and its Mr Esau’s manager, who is in charge of the cattle at the farm who reported the case,” he said.

This comes as the court appearance of Esau with his Fishrot co-accused ex-justice minister Sacky Shanghala, ex-Fishcor chairperson, James Hatuikulipi, his relative Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo, ex-Fishcor Chief Executive Officer, Mike Nghipunya and Pius Mwatelulo have been postponed until a later stage in compliance with the state of emergency declared by President Hage Geingob and lockdown aimed at controlling the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Former Investec Asset Management Namibia Managing Director James Hatuikulipi and one of his co-accused in the Fishrot corruption case, Pius Mwatelulo, are also being charged with possessing prohibited articles in prison after allegedly having in their possession cellphones, a power bank device and a smart watch – which are prohibited in terms of the Correctional Service Act