Fishrot accused not in danger

Ester Mbathera

Deputy Commissioner Veikko Armas, the warden of the Windhoek correctional facility said the Fishrot accused’s lives are in no danger.

This comes after allegations made by the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEEF) commissar for economic development, Michael Amushelelo that there are plans to kill all the Fishrot accused in the prison’s trial awaiting cells.

He made the remarks on Monday on his social media platforms.

“The suspects are currently being held at C Section in the Windhoek Correctional Facility, however, all of them will be taken to a section called Echo on Tuesday. At Echo Section, there are individuals who have been instructed to create a riot and in that riot, they will kill the Fishrot suspects and it will be reported as if it was just a fight between prisoners that went wrong,” said Amushelelo.

According to him the killing of the accused is for them not to reveal the truth in court whose next court appearance is set for 17 May for a hearing of the application for leave to appeal against the recusal ruling of High Court Judge, Moses Chinhengo.

Amushelolo also accused the National Correctional Services (NCS), Commissioner-General Raphael Hamunyela of being capable of killing people.

“Please take note that you will be solely responsible if anything happens to the Fishrot suspects. What we want is Justice and not people being silenced through killing them. We know very well that you are capable of killing people who want to speak the truth and the late Lazarus Alferdt Kandara is a classic example,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner Armas dismissed the alleged threats to the lives of the accused.

“Their safety is in their hands and we are to ensure that because we know that the nation will ask us questions. Are we murderers to get all those people killed?” he questioned.

Armas confirmed that some of the accused persons will be moved from the C Section which is single cells to the Echo Section which hosts about 100 trials awaiting offenders.

Those who will be moved to the Echo Section are Tamson Hatuikulipi, his cousin James Hatuikulipi, and businessmen Ricardo Gustavo, former CEO of the National Fishing Corporation, Mike Nghipunya, Otuafika Logistics owner Pius Mwatelulo, civil servant Otniel Shuudifonya.

In the Echo Section, they will share cells that accommodate 15 to 20 people per cell who sleep on double bunk beds.

“There is no threat to their lives. The security of everybody is our primary concern. We will not blindly expose people to danger. If we pick up that there is any danger to any person, not just the Fishrot accused, we will act accordingly,” he said.

Former fisheries minister, Bernhard Esau, former justice minister, Sacky Shanghala and former City Police officer, Phillipus Mwapopi will remain in C Section.

Armas said Namibia’s prison laws make provisions for their protection as former legislators and law enforcement officers.

“Mwapopi will not be moved because there are people that he has arrested that are in that particular unit. Our officers are on the ground and if anyone feels that their lives are being threatened they can always tell us. We can always move such a person after investigating and ascertaining that their lives are in danger,” he said.

Armas said the movement of the accused persons between prison blocks will not impact their preparations for their cases and the NCS will render all services needed for them to prepare.

He urged Amushelelo not to cause panic among the public.

Commissioner-General Hamunyela said he will attend to the matter in the coming weeks as he is currently busy with the funeral of his father-in-law.

“I will take it up once I am back in the office,” he said.

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