THE Windhoek High Court was a hive of activity today when some of Fishrot’s suspects appeared today for their formal bail application before Judge Shafimana Ueitele.
Lucious Murorua, who represents Sakeus Shanghala, James Hatuikulipi and Pius Mwatelula, indicates that his clients’ affidavits are not yet ready as they have not been commissioned yet. The State will be served with the documents on Wednesday while the trio will not be testifying.
On the other hand, former Fishcor Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mike Nghipunya, Otneel Shuudifonya and Phillipus Mwapopi commenced their bail applications, with Nghipunya taking the stand first. Nghipunya was denied bail last year. He, at the time did not testify but instead applied for bail with an affidavit. He was also not cross examined by the state.
State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi says the State is objecting to the granting of bail due to the serious nature of the offenses involving a criminal syndicate, a strong case against the suspects, the risk of absconding with the exception of Nghipunya, fear of interference with investigations, public interest and the administration of justice.
Nghipunya’s lawyer, Tabang Phatela, indicates that the bail application is based on new facts. In the last application Nghipunya was only facing three charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering. Today, he faces 21 charges.
Lawyer Milton Engelbrecht, who is instructing Phatela, says Nghipunya chose to testify in person to explain Government policies and operations relating to Fishcor.
The latter indicating to the court that he has no intentions of fleeing the country. According to him, when the Fishrot scandal broke, he was in Japan and did not feel the need to abscond. When news of the arrest of former Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister, Bernard Esau, broke, he had an opportunity to fly to Johannesburg and Zimbabwe, but still did not abscond.
Nghipunya testifies that he has a house in Rocky Crest, and that he hails from Okashana village in Omuthiya adding that he has no children. He says he graduated in 2009 for a Bachelor of Economics and enrolled for a Masters degree in Business Management with the University of Manchester, graduating in 2016. He then enrolled for International Business Law with the University of Manchester and graduated last year.
Esau, his son in law, Tamson Fitty Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo and Nigel van Wyk are not part of these proceedings.