Fishrot bail application intensifies

Eba Kandovazu

FORMER Fishcor Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mike Nghipunya, is insisting that the State does not and will never have a strong case against him, adding that the Deloitte audit report shows that there is no missing money at Fishcor, or that it is unaccounted for.

According to him, all the money was paid to beneficiaries. On cross examination by State Advocate, Cliff Lutibezi, however, the State indicated that it is well aware that money is not missing, but that it was misappropriated.

Nghipunya notes that upon reading the docket, it is clear that the State has no case against him. “Just because there is many charges and allegations, perpetuated by the said amounts of missing money, does not mean that the State has a strong case against me. They will not be able to prove these allegations and I am prepared to stand trial and prove my innocence,” he argeus.

Lutibezi also put it to Nghipunya that 74 000 metric tonnes were allocated in 2016. “It appears that quotas were increasing annually between 2016 and 2018. Meaning that the profits were increasing for the company,”Lutibezi remarked.

Nghipunya denies that profits were increasing at the increase of fishing quota allocations, saying that the proceeds were paid directly to beneficiaries. Where governmental objectives were not specified, Fishcor Board Chairperson, James Hatuikulipi, the Permanent Secretary in the Fisheries and Marine Resources Ministry, or the Policy Director would orally communicate what exactly they were for, Nghipunya tells the Court.

The Court was also informed that some money was deposited to the Office of the Prime Minister for drought relief programmes. Money was also deposited to the Namibia Fish Consumption Trust, the Court is informed.

Meanwhile, former Justice Minister, Sacky Shanghala, in his affidavit claims that a number of investigations against him by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), relating to the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA), are unlawful, adding that the ACC is not authorised to launch such investigations against him.

“What however is worrisome is that there is no written authorisation, from the official who is empowered to issue such authorisation, namely the Inspector-General of Police, to conduct such investigations. This, I submit, renders those investigations unlawful. I submit that it cannot be in the interests of the administration of justice that I be denied bail on the basis of an investigation that is unauthorised or an important part of which is unlawful,”Shanghala says.

Shanghala, who will not be testifying in person, adds that he would not abscond as he has been “a faithful servant of this country for some ten years” in the positions he held.

“Despite this, grave doubts have been cast on my character. I am not guilty of any crime and I intend to stand trial. In particular, I have no intention of absconding. I am a former minister of State. It is not likely that I could flee to another country and escape extradition,” he says.

Hatuikulipi, Pius Mwatelula, Phillipus Mwapopi and Otniel Shuudifonya are also applying for bail. The hearing continues tomorrow morning.

Lucious Murorua, Thabang Phatela and Milton Engelbrecht represent the suspects.

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