Judge Christie Liebenberg has ordered the postponement of the Fishrot corruption Nengomar and Fishcor cases to the 20th of May, while the state prosecution files for a joinder application of the two cases.
The Fishrot accused, which included former Fisheries Minister, Bernard Esau, former Justice Minister,Sacky Shangala, former Fishcor Chariman, James Hatuikulipi, former Fishcor CEO, Mike Nghipunya, Tamson Hatuikulip, Pius Mwatelulo, Otneel Shuudifonya, Philipus Mwapopi, will be remanded in custody.
This comes as, during the first pre-trial session of the cases’ appearance at the High Court, Judge Liebenberg dismissed an application in which the State Prosecutor, Ed Marondedze, had sought the High Court to order that the disclosure of dockets, which contain further evidence against the Fishrot accused, as well as a list of witnesses and their addresses, would only be shared with the defence on condition that it would not be leaked to the media.
Marondedze had argued that the contents of the first docket had been shared with the defence and subsequently leaked to the media. The leaked docket included lawyer Maren De Klerk’s affidavit. He stated that the contents of the second docket contains sensitive information, such as witnesses’ addresses.
Trevor Brockerhoff, who represents former Investec Asset Management Namibia Client Director, Ricardo Gustavo, accused the state of using delay tactics.
“It’s an attempt to buy time. This matter is not trial ready. The prosecution’s fears of leaks are misplaced. The Justice Minister yesterday Wednesday) has said they have received nothing from PG’s office for extradition,” he said.
This comes as Samherji employees, Ingvar Júlíusson, Egill Helgi Árnason and Aðalsteinn Helgason, as well as de Klerk, who were added as co-accused, could not be recognised by the High Court in this matter as they have not been charged, and no warrants of arrest issued for them.
Lawyer Richard Metcalfe, who represents Esau and his son in law, Tamson Hatuikulipi, argued that his clients cannot be allowed to languish in police custody due to the delays.
“It is the state’s modus operandi to delay. My clients have been in custody since 2019. We request that the contents of the hard drives be made available in hard copy to us. I cannot consult with the accused because we don’t have the docket. We can’t consult with witnesses because we don’t know which witnesses the state has consulted.”
The Fishrot accused are alleged to have used state funds to launder millions from the state owned Fishcor.