Fishrot bail application takes two-week break

Eba Kandovazu

THE bail application in which some suspects in the Fishrot corruption case are applying to be released on bail has been postponed to 21 February. Judge Shafimana Ueitele says the matter has been scheduled until 4 March.

Today, Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Investigator, Andreas Kanyangela was still being cross examined by James Hatuikulipi, Sacky Shanghala and Pius Mwatelulo’s lawyer Advocate Vas Soni. The trio is joined in the bail application by Mike Nghipunya, Otneel Shuudifonya and Phillipus Mwapopi.

Soni took issue with the manner in which the ACC issued search warrants for the arrest of the suspects in the criminal matter, including former fisheries minister Bernard Esau, his son in law Tamson Hatuikulipi and Gustavo Ricardo. Ricardo is currently on N$800 000 bail. Another suspect in the matter is Nigel van Wyk.

Soni questioned the presence of ACC’s Deputy Director General Erna van der Merwe during a meeting in which the commission’s investigators decided to arrest the suspects.

“Van der Merwe is a legal person at the institution and our supervisor. We went to her to seek advice on whether to issue warrants of arrest or whether we could arrest the suspects without warrants,” Kanyangela replied.

Soni also questioned the ACC’s power and at some point asked Kanyangela “isn’t that a cynical abuse of power? Why are you reluctant to answer questions relating to this case? Are you trying to conceal information? Doesn’t that sound disingenuous? You are trying to hide the truth,” Soni remarked in his line of questioning.

Kamyangela stressed that several meetings were held to discuss the arrests of foshrot suspects, much to the annoyance of Soni, who asked whether it was because the matter involved two ministers.

“There are no other cases involving meetings. This was the only one. We did have discussions about the suspects being high profile people but there was no question to doubt the arrests of the two ministers. At the office, we normally discuss about any actions we want to take on cases. Therefore, discussions about the arrest of the suspects could have been there,” Kanyangela said.

State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi represents the state. Milton Egelbrect, Lucious Murorua, Thabang Phatela represent the suspects in the bail application.



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