Fishcor Ex Boss exposes Swapo fishing quota benefits

Eba Kandovazu

DESPITE the ruling party denying that it benefited from Namibia’s biggest fishing corruption, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of State-owned National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor), Mike Nghipunya, says the party benefited by receiving N$44 million from fishing quotas in 2017. This payment, he says was paid directly to Swapo.

Nghipunya was testifying in the Windhoek High court today, in his bid to get bail. The State yesterday said he does not pose a flight risk. He is offering to pay N$ 200 000 for bail. In his testimony today, Nghipunya corroborates an audit report presented to him in court.

According to him, instructions to make Swapo a beneficiary came from former Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister, Bernard Esau. According to Nghipunya, Esau instructed that Swapo’s quota be listed as a governmental objective due to “sensitivity”.

Nghipunya informs Judge Shafimana Ueitele that 18 000 metric tonnes of horse mackerel were allocated to Swapo for purposes of a presidential campaign. Money was transferred into the law firms of Sisa Namandje and Maren de Klerk, Nghipunya explains.

Nghipunya adds that N$5 million was paid into the account of Sisa Namandje’s law firm, and that the first payment paid to de Klerk’s law firm was N$ 14 million. He says that once a beneficiary is identified, they decide what accounts the money goes into.

He denies that millions went missing at Fishcor and that the money was unaccounted for. “Just because money wasn’t paid to Fishcor doesn’t mean it is missing or that it was Fishcor’s money. As explained, some money was paid directly to beneficiaries” he says.

Nghipunya rubbishes State’s assertions that he was unlawfully receiving two salaries during the time he was CEO, saying that he was entitled to a convenience allowance as an economist in the Fisheries Ministry and being seconded as CEO to Fishcor.

Nghipunya claims that the Fishrot allegations against him are unfounded and based on a misunderstanding of governmental objectives.

The bail application continues. Sacky Shanghala, James Hatuikulipi and Pius Mwatelula have, in the meantime requested for additional time until 6 PM today, to finalise the commissioning of their affidavits. Otniel Shuudifonya and Phillipus Mwapopi are also applying for bail and will also testify in person.

Esau and his son in law, Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Nigel van Wyk are not part of these proceedings.

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