Fishcor looks to cut ties with Seaflower Pelagic Processing

Andrew Kathindi

The National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) board led by Heinrich Mihe Gaomab II has threatened to terminate agreements entered into by the company, including its investment into Seaflower Pelagic Processing (SPP).

The decision by the company comes after a damning judgment delivered by Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula in which it described SPP’s relationship with Fishcor as cozy and parasitic, while terms of their 15 year agreement was only going to be possible “under a corrupt environment.”

“Having acknowledged judgment outcome and in full and unequivocal support of it, we wish to state that while the judgment provides Fishcor with room to best serve its rightful purpose as mandated under its Act, it also paints a concerning picture of the so-called cooperation and designation agreements that were signed in 2016 as well as the usage quota agreements between Fishcor and SPP,” Gaomab II said.

“Inferring on the judgment delivered, the message is clear that these agreements are symbiotic of a corrupt relationship and give rise to a cozy and parasitic relationship which in our view is consistent with our resolve not to proceed with the associative entity on the prevailing incestuous kind of arrangement.”

The Fishcor board chairperson said the company had begun the process of reviewing the agreement with the aim of terminating them.

“We as Fishcor accordingly distance ourselves from these so-called agreements in total and inform the public that we are currently pursuing options legal or otherwise on the termination of these so-called agreements,” he said.

“It is clear that these agreements were against public policy interests, usurp the discretionary power of the Minister of Fisheries to allocate quotas in terms of the provisions of the Marine Resources Act and contrary to the beneficial arrangement Fishcor ought to get with the public interest objectives in mind.”

Seaflower Pelagic Processing is 40 percent owned by Fishcor through a partnership with African Selection Fishing Namibia, owned by businessman Adriaan Louw, which has also been fingered in the Fishrot saga, although the company has previously denied the allegations.

Created in 2016, the company’s operations were based on an agreement to receive 50,000 tons annually of Fishcor’s horse mackerel quota, a position which Gaomab II said was of concern.

“We are further concerned that these agreements have ceded and transferred Fishcor’s rights, obligations and title deeds to SPP through third party agreements.” Seaflower Pelagic Processing General Manager Adolf Burger when contacted by the Windhoek Observer hit back at the Fischcor plans and allegations raised.

“If the agreements were illegal, then the illegal agreement was made by Fishcor and not the investor. I would really want to know what Fishcor wants to do because they presented illegal contracts to the investor,” he said, adding that Louw had invested N$530 million based on an illegal agreement, which Fishcor is now looking to terminate.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine resources earlier this year ended its deal with Fishcor, opting to rather auction off its quotas. This led to Seaflower Pelagic Processing announcing retrenchments of over 650 workers; a move which Gaomab II has alleged is being used as a tactic to get more quotas.

Gaomab ll and Ruth Herunga, who are both Fishcor board members, have since resigned from the SPP board.

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